Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – A mob of Pakistani Muslims attacked the majority Christian community in the eastern part of the country. They burned a number of houses and damaged several churches.
The acts of vandalism by Pakistanis occurred in Jaranwala, the industrial area of Faisalabad. Local police spokesperson Naveed Ahmad explained that the perpetrators of the vandalism accused two residents of carrying out an act of blasphemy against the Koran.
According to Ahmad, the two residents who were accused of being the perpetrators of religious blasphemy and their families had left their homes.
Shakil Masih, a local resident, said he witnessed a mass of people who were set on fire by an incendiary announcement when they were moving to their residential area, which is predominantly Christian.
“I immediately left the house with my family. Several other families did the same,” he told Reuters, Thursday (17/8/2023).
According to information from local leaders, the mob burned at least 5 churches and looted valuables from houses vacated by their occupants. Hundreds of people also staged roadblocks.
Several video recordings show a resident destroying the church with a sledgehammer and setting it on fire.
Punjab Information Minister, Amir Mir, stated that 100 people were detained in connection with the mass attack. “Residents who attacked the church were identified using video footage.”
The police explained that the incident started with the discovery of several Al-Qurans which had derogatory words scribbled on in red ink.
Pakistani law stipulates that perpetrators of blasphemy can be sentenced to death. Nonetheless, according to Reuters, the death penalty has never been imposed.
However, Pakistan is often hit by vigilante actions by the masses. In neighboring India, there have also been shootings of local government officials and ministers representing minorities.
The Commission for the Protection of Human Rights of Pakistan requested that the government assign and support the police to protect places of worship of religious minorities, according to the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“The frequency and scale of these attacks, which are systematic, brutal and unstoppable, have increased in recent years,” said a spokesman for Komnas HAM Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar called for the perpetrators of the attack to be strictly punished.