More than 80 Christian homes and 19 churches in Pakistan were vandalized after a Muslim mob’s alleged blasphemy-related rampage this week, the head of Punjab province police, Usman Anwar, said Friday.
“The events that unfolded were tragic. Violence like this can never be justified,” he told AFP, adding that he will visit Jaranwala city on Sunday to support the Christian community.
Anwar said he interrogated two Christian brothers accused of desecrating the Quran “to avoid accusations of torture.”
Police have reported that a further 128 individuals have been arrested in connection with the incidents of violence.
On Wednesday, a furious mob of Muslim men rampaged through the streets of Jaranwala, a town on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad in Pakistan. This led to the displacement of numerous members of Pakistan’s Christian minority as homes and churches were set ablaze.
According to Anwar, on Friday, 3,200 churches in Punjab province were placed under police protection to offer a sense of security to the Christian community.
Muslim clerics utilized mosque loudspeakers to disseminate allegations and incite a raging mob of hundreds to protest.
The Christian neighbourhood’s homes were subjected to ransacking, leaving their contents scattered across the streets.
Constituting approximately two per cent of the population, Christians in Pakistan hold one of the most marginalized societal positions and often become victims of baseless blasphemy accusations.