Islamabad,19 August 2023 (TDI): The US embassy condemns the attacks on the churches and Christian homes in Jaranwala on the 16th of August.

It declares its support for minority groups and urges the authorities to bring the victims justice.

16th august attack

On Wednesday, a Muslim mob stormed a Christian community in Jaranwala, vandalizing multiple churches and torching dozens of homes after accusing two of its members of desecrating the Koran.

According to a police spokesman, the attack occurred in Jaranwala, Faisalabad’s industrial neighborhood.

He claimed the two Christians were accused of blasphemy and that they and their families had fled their houses.

Amir Mir, Punjab’s temporary information minister, confirmed the arrests later on Wednesday.

“People who attacked the churches are being identified through video footage,” he explained.

According to police, the case against the Christians is related to pages of the Koran discovered with insulting words scribbled in red.

Read More: Sri Lanka Received Sialkot incidents investigation report from Pakistan

Previous blasphemy charges in Pakistan

In Pakistan, blasphemy is punishable by death, and while no one has ever been hanged for it, countless accused people have been lynched by enraged mobs.

A former regional governor and a minister for minorities were also assassinated over blasphemy allegations.

Religious freedom situations in Pakistan continued to deteriorate since 2021.

Targeted killings, lynchings, mob violence, forced conversions, and desecration of institutions of worship and graves were all reported this year.

Religious minorities, including Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Shi’a Muslims, were targeted in these breaches.

Jaranwala attack
Christian homes, Churches, and Bibles have been burnt down on allegations of Blasphemy

Those accused of blasphemy suffered violence, incarceration with no chance of bail, and possibly death.

Mere accusations of blasphemy have incited mobs to violence against members of minority communities and those with differing beliefs.

Tabitha Gill, a Christian nurse accused of blasphemy by her colleagues, was attacked and tortured by hospital personnel in Karachi in January 2021.

In December, a lynch mob in Sialkot killed and burned the body of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan national, on blasphemy charges.

An irate mob assaulted a Hindu temple in Punjab Province in August after a court granted bail to an eight-year-old Hindu boy accused of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating a local religious school.

In July, a police constable in Punjab hacked to death a man acquitted of blasphemy charges.

Despite publicly condemning mob violence, the government has done little to protect religious minorities or bring justice.