Over 100 Pakistanis arrested during overnight raids for attacking churchtext_fields
Islamabad: Over 100 Muslims were arrested in overnight police raids after a Muslim mob rampaged through an eastern Pakistan neighbourhood. The turmoil was triggered by allegations of the desecration of the Quran by a Christian man, sparking attacks on churches and minority Christian homes.
Authorities deployed troops to restore order in the city of Jaranwala, Faisalabad district.
Although no casualties were reported, minority Christians fled with their families to safer locations in the face of the attacks against them. When they returned to their homes, they only witnessed the charred ruins of one torched church and four others damaged.
The riots saw rioters set fire to homes and churches, using petrol to intensify the destruction. Shocked and bewildered, local Christians sought solace amongst each other, as women mourned the losses and men grappled with the aftermath.
The violence drew nationwide condemnation, prompting Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-ul-Haq Kakar to order the arrest of the rioters.
Regional police chief Rizwan Khan announced that 129 suspects had been apprehended and the situation was now under control. Video footage circulating on social media captured the disturbing scenes of churches under attack, with rioters hurling bricks and burning debris. One video depicted a man tearing down a steel cross from a church roof amid cheering onlookers.
The incident reignited calls for the repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which have been frequently exploited to target religious minorities and settle personal vendettas. Amnesty International and other human rights groups urged the government to address the misuse of these laws, emphasizing the need to protect religious harmony and minority rights.