Jaranwala Incident – Christian NGOS working for minorities in pakistan

Jaranwala Incident Minorities in Pakistan

Jaranwala Incident – Christian NGOS Working For Minorities In Pakistan

In a deeply troubling incident, the town of Jaranwala in Pakistan’s Faisalabad district was marred by violence on a recent Wednesday. A violent mob, numbering in the hundreds, rampaged through the town, ransacking and setting fire to five churches, attacking residences of Christian community members, and even targeting the office of the local assistant commissioner. This outbreak of violence stemmed from allegations of blasphemy.

Immediate Measures Taken

In response to the escalating situation, the district administration swiftly imposed Section 144 for a duration of seven days. This legal provision restricts various forms of public assembly, with exceptions made for government-organized events. Meanwhile, the Punjab government issued directives to establish a high-level inquiry committee, as per orders from the caretaker prime minister, to thoroughly investigate the incident.

The Blasphemy Allegation

The violence was triggered by allegations that desecrated pages of the Holy Quran were found near a residence in Cinema Chowk, where two Christian brothers lived. These allegations swiftly spread throughout Jaranwala as those making the claims approached various mosques, leading to announcements that incited people to react to the alleged incident.

The situation escalated further when members of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) joined in, making public announcements from mosques and other locations, further inflaming sentiments and encouraging people to gather at the site of the alleged incident. Consequently, a mob congregated outside the house of the two accused men, who had vacated the premises by then. This mob set fire to the house, setting off a series of violent incidents.

The Unrest Unfolds

Following these initial incidents, people began to gather in Jaranwala, forming an enraged mob. This mob allegedly targeted two churches, one Catholic and the other belonging to the Salvation Army. Furthermore, Christian homes in two nearby localities, near Chak 127-GB on the main City Road and near Chak 126-GB, Bridge Colony along Shahrwana Canal (also known as Christian Colony), were attacked and set ablaze.

Christian community leaders reported that the mob also torched three additional churches and looted valuables from abandoned homes. Even a local Christian graveyard was not spared, with graves vandalized and a section of its boundary wall demolished.

Official Response and Protests

Video clips and photos shared on social media depicted flames and smoke billowing from church buildings, individuals setting fire to furniture, and the removal of the crucifix symbol from a church building. Additionally, the mob attacked and ransacked the office of Jaranwala Assistant Commissioner Shaukat Masih, who had already departed when the mob arrived.

Protesters also blocked the Faisalabad-Abdul Hakeem M-III motorway at the Jaranwala interchange, disrupting traffic.

Police Inaction and Reactions

Christian leaders strongly condemned what they viewed as police inaction throughout the episode. They alleged that the police played the role of passive observers while Christian families cried for help, delaying their response until residents felt compelled to abandon their homes, leaving them vulnerable to attackers.

Government Intervention

Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr. Usman Anwar personally arrived in Jaranwala to assess the situation. They held meetings with members of the Aman Committee and other influential religious and political leaders in the area in an effort to engage with protesters.

Subsequently, the Punjab government called in the Rangers to assume control of the troubled areas and prevent further violence. The provincial administration issued a high alert following the incident. Furthermore, the IGP deployed 3,000 police personnel from various units, including the Elite Force, to maintain order.

Legal Actions and Public Response

The Faisalabad Regional Police Officer and City Police Officer held negotiations with protest leaders and informed them that an FIR had been registered under sections 295C and 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The FIR was filed on the complaint of City Police SHO Mansoor Sadiq and accused two individuals of desecrating the Holy Quran and writing blasphemous text on its pages.

The President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, Azad Marshall, condemned the violence. He decried the burning and desecration of Bible copies and the torture and harassment of Christian community members who were falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran.

Criticism and Official Actions

Notably, some social media activists criticized the Punjab police for perceived discrimination. They questioned why a blasphemy case was initiated against the Christian suspects but no FIR was filed against those who ransacked churches and attacked members of the minority community.

In the wake of the violence, the Punjab government decided to remove Jaranwala Assistant Commissioner Shaukat Masih from his post and designate him as an officer on special duty (OSD). It was reported that this decision was made to appease the violent protesters who had been demanding the immediate transfer of the officer. Shaukat Masih is also a Christian.

What One Vision Society is doing about it.

Pastor Shakeel Din Executive Director, One Vision Society visited the Victims in Jaranwala among other community leaders to see the real need of people sufffering from all that.

“One Vision Society Extends a Helping Hand to Jaranwala Victims”

In the aftermath of the distressing events that unfolded in Jaranwala, where a violent mob wreaked havoc on the lives and properties of innocent individuals following allegations of blasphemy, One Vision Society has stepped forward as a beacon of hope and support. OVS is non-profit organization, committed to humanitarian causes and emergency relief, is now dedicated to providing aid and assistance to the victims of this unfortunate incident.

A Mission of Compassion

One Vision Society has always been driven by a mission of compassion and a vision of a better, more inclusive world. In the face of adversity and hardship, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to helping those in need, exemplifying the spirit of solidarity and unity that defines its ethos.

Extending a Lifeline

Understanding the immediate and pressing needs of the victims in Jaranwala, One Vision Society is working tirelessly to extend a lifeline of support. The organization is actively engaged in providing emergency relief to those affected by the violence, ensuring that basic necessities such as food, clean water, shelter, and medical assistance reach those who require it the most.

A Beacon of Hope

In times of crisis, One Vision Society stands as a beacon of hope, offering solace and assistance to individuals and families who have endured unimaginable hardships. By mobilizing resources, gathering donations, and collaborating with local partners and relief agencies, the organization aims to help rebuild the lives of the victims and provide them with the strength to overcome this tragic episode.

How You Can Contribute

One Vision Society recognizes that the path to recovery and healing is a collective effort. To make a difference and support the organization’s vital mission in aiding Jaranwala victims, individuals, communities, and organizations are encouraged to contribute in any way they can. Whether through financial donations, in-kind assistance, or volunteering efforts, every act of kindness and support is invaluable in providing relief and restoring hope to those affected.

Standing Together, United

In these trying times, One Vision Society reminds us of the power of unity, compassion, and collective action. Together, we can make a profound impact and stand in solidarity with the victims of Jaranwala. As One Vision Society extends its helping hand, it calls upon the global community to join in this humanitarian endeavor, reaffirming our shared commitment to making the world a better place for all.

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