The Jaranwala police on Thursday registered terror cases against more than 600 people for “vandalising multiple churches and torching homes belonging to the Christian community.”
According to the FIR, a mob of 500-600, who were led by a group of people, “attacked the Christian community, ransacked people’s homes after entering them and torched Christians’ homes and the church building”.
The FIR invoked sections 7(1)(d), 7(1)(j), 7(1)(g) and 7(1)(h) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
It also invoked sections 148, 149, 153A, 186, 295, 295A, 324, 353, 427, 436 and 452 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The FIR also included sections 5 and 6 of the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act 2015.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government also ordered the formation of a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the incident, in line with directives issued by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq.
In a statement, Punjab police said it had made over 100 arrests while Rangers had also been called in.
In light of the situation, the district administration has imposed Section 144 for seven days, prohibiting all kinds of assembly, except for events organised by the government.
Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar took notice of incidents that took place in Jaranwala city of Punjab’s Faisalabad district.
In a message on X (formerly Twitter), PM Kakar wrote, “I am gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala, Faisalabad.”
He vowed, “Stern action would be taken against those who violate law and target minorities. All law enforcement has been asked to apprehend culprits and bring them to justice. Rest assured that the government of Pakistan stands with our citizenry on equal basis.”