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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Police launch probe into Gujjar Khan church burning

Investigators said the church was built on the National Highway Authority (NHA) property a long time ago

By Shakeel Anjum
April 01, 2024
This image shows the Burnt Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city. — X/@S_AsianXtians/File
This image shows the Burnt Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city. — X/@S_AsianXtians/File

RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has ordered a high-level investigation into the burning of a church in Gujjar Khan, Home Office sources told this correspondent.

The area police have not yet lodged a first information report (FIR) of the case.

Investigators said the church was built on the National Highway Authority (NHA) property a long time ago. The NHA authorities built a 12-Marla building on the Kaliam Road some 25 years ago and shifted the church there.

They said the Gujjar Khan church remained vacant for over 12 years. The Christian community elders initiated the Sunday services at the Kaliam Road church around 10 years back without any controversy. A preliminary investigation report has been submitted to the Home Office Punjab without revealing the involvement of any specific group or person.

Regional Police Officer (RPO), Rawalpindi Region, Babar Sarfaraz Alpa, when contacted to obtain his version about the occurrence, said, “The police recovered nothing yet except that the fire erupted due to short circuit. However, the police have not given up the probe.” The investigators have collected forensic evidence and examined, but have got no clue so far, the RPO concluded.

Dr Majeed Abel’s, Executive Secretary of Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, said the authorities should unearth and reveal the what happened to the church, demanding those responsible be dealt with in accordance with the law.