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Tuesday July 16, 2024

Protesters condemn violence against Christian community in Punjab

By Our Correspondent
August 17, 2023

Members of the Christian community, human rights activists and general public staged a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday against the Jaranwala violence and demanded an end to attacks against the minorities in the country.

The demonstrators criticised the Punjab police and government for their failure to protect the minorities, and decried the violent groups that vandalised churches and set fire to houses of Christians.

The protesters chanted slogans against the government and authorities as they called for the protection of minorities from mob assaults and lynching.

Speaking at the protest, Pastor Ghazala Shafiq urged the authorities to stop Pakistan from becoming a living hell for minorities. She drew a comparison with India, where Muslims had faced violence over mere allegations of consumption of cow meat.

She emphasised that as Pakistanis, the minorities had their rights protected by the constitution, including the rights to religious freedom and equal treatment under the law.

She highlighted that those who had organised the mob attacks in different cities of Punjab should be apprehended and subjected to legal proceedings. She underscored the need for making Pakistan a peaceful place for all its citizens, irrespective of their faith.

In a display of unity, another protester, Azhar Malik, stated, “We are here as Pakistanis, standing up for our rights granted by the Constitution. It's high time we put an end to this cycle of discrimination and hatred. The minorities deserve the same protection and respect as anyone else.”

The protesters unitedly, emphasised that the Constitution guaranteed the minorities’ rights, religious freedom and equal treatment.

MQM statement

In a statement issued by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Coordination Committee on Wednesday, they condemned the alleged disrespectful treatment of the Holy Quran and the violence that followed in Jaranwala and Faisalabad.

The statement highlighted that an act committed by a few miscreants led to an attack on the entire Christian community in Jaranwala and Faisalabad, following allegations of religious blasphemy.

The committee expressed its strong condemnation of those who instigated violence and damaged several houses and a Christian cemetery. Such incidents, the committee asserted, had no place in any circumstance.

The committee called upon the chief minister of Punjab and other high-ranking officials to initiate a thorough investigation into the incident, ensure those responsible were brought to justice, and guarantee the safety of individuals and properties belonging to the minority community.