Mob attacks Christians in Pakistan over alleged desecration; 2 injured

Lahore, May 25 (PTI) A mob led by radical Islamists on Saturday unleashed an attack on Christians in Pakistan Punjab province over the allegations of desecration of the Quran that left at least two members from the minority community injured, one of them seriously, police said.

The incident took place in Mujahid Colony Sargodha district of Punjab, some 200 km from Lahore in the morning.

Police claim to have reached the scene on time to control the situation.

Several video clips of the mob attack on the properties of the Christian community are doing rounds on social media.

The mob led by radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) activists attacked the Christian community, burning and ransacking their property.

According to senior Punjab police officer Asad Ejaz Malhi, a heavy contingent of police has reached Mujahid Colony and dispersed the mob which had surrounded some houses (of Christians) over the allegations of the desecration of the Quran.

He said one injured person has been shifted to a hospital and police have been deployed there to maintain law and order.

Another police officer told PTI that on Saturday morning some youth in Mujahid Colony alleged that one Nazir Gill Masih desecrated the Quran.

“Following their allegations, a mob led by the TLP activists marched towards the residence and a factory of Nazir. They set ablaze his shoe factory and his house. They also ransacked a few shops owned by Christians. Before police could reach the spot, the mob lynched and thrashed Nazir,” he said.

However, the police were able to rescue Nazir and shifted him to the hospital where his condition was stated to be critical, the officer said. He said another Christian man also suffered injuries.

Ifran Gill, a relative of Nazir, told PTI that his uncle had returned from Dubai after four years. He said some people in the locality accused him falsely of desecration of the Quran. He said the Christian families saved their lives by locking themselves inside their houses when the mob marched towards them. He said the environment has been tense in the area and the Christians are terrified.

“Another Jaranwala style attack on Christians in Sargodha with mob attacking the local community, burning and ransacking property. The failure of the State to take any serious and sincere action against perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident has only emboldened those who exploit religious sentiments for their criminal acts,” Human rights lawyer and politician Jibran Nasir said on X.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was seriously concerned by the unfolding situation in Sargodha, where the Christian community in Gillwala village is reportedly at grave risk to their lives at the hands of charged mobs.

“There are unconfirmed reports of a man having been allegedly lynched,” the HRCP said on X and asked the Punjab police to immediately restore calm and bring the perpetrators to book, while ensuring that the Christian community comes to no further harm.

Sara Taseer, daughter of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer, said: “The poor Pak Christian community reaches out to me for help when lynchings stir up. Before X was banned, I could alert some groups to help when there was an attack and try to avert the worst. But now they are more cornered than ever.”

Last year at least 24 churches and over 80 houses belonging to Christians in Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad district, some 130 km from the provincial capital, were burnt down by a mob over reports that two Christians had desecrated the Quran.

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