Violent Unrest in Jaranwala, Pakistan Churches Torched Amid Blasphemy Allegations

Farrukh Saif

August 21, 2023

"Enraged mob gathering in Jaranwala in response to allegations of blasphemy."

A Wave of Violence Unleashed

On August 16, 2023, in Jaranwala, Pakistan, a mob of hundreds vandalized and torched 21 churches and Christian homes. Allegations of blasphemy triggered this violence.

Local Muslims reacted angrily upon hearing that pages of the Islamic holy book had been desecrated near a house in the Cinema Chowk area.These allegations spread quickly, leading to announcements from mosque clerics inciting people to respond to the alleged desecration.

Escalation and Mobilization

Members of the religious-political group Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) added fuel to the fire by urging people to gather at the site of the alleged incident. An enraged mob assembled outside the house of the Christian brothers, who had already fled, setting their house ablaze. Videos shared on social media revealed local clerics using mosque loudspeakers to incite residents to demonstrate and unite against the perceived blasphemy.

The situation further escalated as the mob ransacked and set fire to multiple churches. While a mob looted and torched houses belonging to Christians. Witnesses noted that the attackers were not from the local area.

National and International Responses

The incident drew widespread condemnation, both domestically and internationally. Caretaker Pakistani Premier Anwaar ul Haq Kakar expressed his distress, vowing stern action against those who violate the law and target minorities. The Chief of Army Staff, General Asim Munir, denounced the incident as intolerable and emphasized equal citizenship for all, promising justice for the perpetrators.

Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi visited Jaranwala, announcing compensation for affected families and pledging to restore damaged church buildings. He stressed the need for strong action against the culprits and unity to prevent future incidents of this nature.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a fearless Christian Human Rights activist, founded the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to combat religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His focus on liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns has earned him international recognition. Despite facing threats and fatwas, his impactful work continues to support marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, amplifying its global reach.

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