128 out of 600 suspects arrested after churches set on fire

Churches attackers won’t be spared: FO

On PM’s directives, high-powered inquiry committee to investigate mob attacks in Jaranwala n Punjab CM claims both main accused now in CTD custody n Mohsin Naqvi says all churches and Christians’ homes will be restored within three to four days
n US says deeply concerned over attacks on Jaranwala churches.


FAISALABAD/LAHORE/ WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD  -  The Jaranwala city police Thursday claimed to have ar­rested 128 people by regis­tering five cases against the elements involved in vandal­ism of churches and houses of Christian community over al­leged desecration of Holy Qu­ran in its limits.

A spokesperson for the Fais­alabad Capital Police Office (CPO) said Thursday that the Jaranwala police division, af­ter a heartbreaking incident of blasphemy of Holy Quran and vandalism of worship places, registered cases against peo­ple under different sections including terrorism act.

The police put security on high alert around worship places and residential localities of the minorities. He said that security of mosques, Imambar­gahs and churches was top pri­ority of the district police and no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands. He said that the police were always ready to maintain law and or­der in the district. Also, Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi vowed to restore all the churches and Christians’ homes within three to four days that were ransacked and torched during the Jaranwala violence on Wednesday. Addressing a meeting on Thursday, which was attended by religious lead­ers of the Christian communi­ty, he condemned Wednesday’s violence and asserted that such incidents are anti-Islam and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohammad [Peace Be Upon Him]. He said the mob-led attack was a conspiracy to light a fire in the country and sabotage its peace.

Bishop Lahore Nadeem Kam­ran also presented joint commu­nique during the meeting and expressed resolve that Christian community will play its due role for peace in the country. 

Meanwhile, the Punjab gov­ernment ordered the formation of a high-level inquiry commit­tee to investigate the incident, in line with directives issued by Caretaker Prime Minister An­waar-ul-Haq.

Separately, in a statement, Punjab police said it had made over 100 arrests while the Ja­ranwala police booked over 600 people in two terror cases.

Punjab caretaker Chief Minis­ter Moshin Naqvi on Thursday said that “both main accused” in Jaranwala rampage — when a mob torched several churches, ransacked Christian homes and vandalised a graveyard — were now in the custody of the Count­er Terrorism Department.

“Major breakthrough in the Jaranwala Incident – both main accused now in CTD Custody. Appreciation for Chief Secretary Punjab and IG Punjab for their relentless efforts. Prime Minis­ter’s unwavering concern guid­ed us, driving the swift arrest process. Grateful for the trust he placed in our team, fueling record-time arrests.”

He also tweeted that he con­vened a crucial meeting with re­ligious representatives to em­phasise the essence of interfaith harmony. The Jaranwala inci­dent raised numerous ques­tions and exposed a conspiracy aimed at disrupting our nation’s unity. Let it be known to all con­spirators that their efforts are destined to fail; we stand unit­ed, true to our Quaid’s vision. Chief Secretary Punjab and IG Punjab remained at the spot throughout the day and handled the situation on ground. As Pa­kistani, we all condemn the in­cident that took place in Jaran­wala. We assure you that the conspirators and perpetrators will see the wrath of law very soon, he added.

Meanwhile, The United States has voiced deep concerns over attacks on churches and homes in Pakistani town of Jaranwala in Faisalabad district, following the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran, and called for an in­vestigation.

“We are deeply concerned that churches and homes were targeted in response to re­ported Quran desecration in Pakistan,” State Department Spokesperson Vendant Patel told reporters at his daily press briefing on Wednesday, in re­sponse to a question from the correspondent of a private tele­vision channel.

“We support peaceful free­dom of expression and the right to freedom of religion and be­lief for everybody,” the spokes­person said. “And as we have previously said, we are always concerned about incidents of religiously-motivated violence. Violence or the threat of vio­lence is never an acceptable form of expression, and we urge Pakistani authorities to conduct a full investigation into these al­legations and call for calm for all those involved.”

According to media reports, no loss of life was reported during the incident while po­lice had made over 100 arrests so far. Moreover, it said, footage of the incidents was being ana­lyzed through scientific meth­ods and the Rangers too had been called to the area to help restore calm.

meanwhile, Pakistan yester­day said the attackers involved in the vandalising the Churches in Faisalabad will not be spared at any cost.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Prime Minister An­waar-ul-Haq Kakar had already strongly condemned the repre­hensible incident that took place in Faisalabad where churches were targeted and that hurt the sentiments of Christians across the country. “These acts are il­legal and unconstitutional. As a country of law and the Consti­tution, Pakistan cannot accept such intolerant and violent acts. Our law enforcement authorities took swift action yesterday. They have been instructed by the Prime Minister to apprehend the culprits and bring them to jus­tice,” she added. The spokesper­son said the individuals belong­ing to religious minorities were equal citizens of the state.

“As a multicultural and mul­tifaith country, Pakistan is ful­ly determined to protect and promote their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms and to foster social harmony, tolerance and mutual respect,” she added.

With regards to the incident on the 13th of August in Gwa­dar, the FO spokesperson said, the attack of 13th August 2023 in Gwadar aimed to target Chi­nese nationals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Cor­ridor project in Gwadar. “As a result of timely action by Paki­stani security forces, the attack was foiled and the terrorists in­volved were killed,” she said.

Baloch said ensuring the safe­ty and security of all Chinese personnel, projects and institu­tions remains a key priority for Pakistan. “Planners and perpe­trators of this abhorrent act will be brought to justice. They will never succeed in their evil de­sign to damage our bilateral ties with China. Nor can such abhor­rent acts dampen the resolve of our two countries to further advance the all-encompassing bilateral cooperation, includ­ing under the ambit of the Chi­na-Pakistan Economic Corri­dor,” she maintained. She said in a communication addressed to the Government of India, UN special procedures for hu­man rights have expressed se­rious concerns at the arrest, detention and charges against Kashmiri human rights defend­ers, Khurram Pervaiz and Irfan Mehraj. “The communication has been signed by the UN Spe­cial Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntarily Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom and Peaceful Assembly and of Association; and the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamen­tal Freedoms,” she added.

Khurram Pervaiz, who is the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS) and Irfan Mehraj, a researcher with JKCSS, are detained in Rohini prison in New Dehi, she mentioned. To a question, she said, Pakistan has always said that it would like to partner with all friendly countries to promote peace and dialogue in South Asia, Afghanistan and in the context of Pakistan-India rela­tions. “We believe that Pakistan’s engagement with the United States on aspects of mutual con­cern has been quite productive and fruitful, as has been our dia­logue with several other friendly countries in the region and out­side the region,” she added.

About Taliban Supreme Lead­er Mullah Haibatullah’s recent remarks, she said: “We have seen the statement. Pakistan welcomes all statements that would lead to cessation of ter­rorist activities against Paki­stan. Pakistan has remained in contact with the Afghan inter­im authorities on issues of our concern, including the terrorist threat that Pakistan faces. We hope that the Afghan author­ities will honour the commit­ments that they have made to the international community and Pakistan, including in the Trilateral Meeting that took place between the Foreign Min­isters of Pakistan, Afghanistan and China in May this year.”

On sending Pakistan Crick­et team to India, she said Pa­kistan believed that it was In­dia’s “responsibility to provide fool-proof security and the right environment for our team to participate, an environment in which our players are able to participate without fear for their safety and without undue harassment by the spectators in the stands.”

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