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Presbyterian Church gutted in Pakistan after Friday service, Christian community members demand investigation
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Presbyterian Church gutted in Pakistan after Friday service, Christian community members demand investigation

| @indiablooms | 31 Mar 2024, 01:57 pm

A Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city of Pakistan was gutted just hours after the Friday service, media reports said.

Local sources claimed told Dawn News that there had been an argument between the owner of a nearby plaza and the Christian community as the church administration had closed a nearby street for security purposes on Good Friday.

Rawalpindi CPO Khalid Mahmood Hamdani told Dawn initial investigation showed the fire was caused due to a short circuit, adding that they did not find any inflammable material on the spot.

The CPO told the newspaper they had investigated the issue and the owner of the plaza had nothing to do with the fire.

Christian community protest

Christian community members demonstrated outside the church and demanded a probe and compensation for the damages caused by the fire from the Punjab government.

Church's caretaker Elder Javed told Dawn News that police registered a complaint by mentioning short circuit as the cause of fire.

He said he never reported this in his statement.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Gujar Khan Murad Hussain Nekokara assured the protesters of a fair investigation into the incident.

A Church official told Dawn News that the owner of a nearby plaza had asked the church administration to remove the tents erected to block the road and street for security purposes on Good Friday, but police and locals intervened and pacified the matter.

Last year, police arrested over 100 people after a Muslim mob angered over the alleged desecration of the Quran by a Christian man attacked churches and homes of minority Christians in Pakistan's Jaranwala town.

Responding to the attack and arson of at least five Churches and many Christian homes in Jaranwala in Pakistan, Rehab Mahamoor, interim regional researcher for South Asia at Amnesty International, last year said: “Such attacks add to the climate of discrimination and fear for religious minorities."

"The vicious mob attacks are just the latest manifestation of the threat of vigilante violence which anyone can face in Pakistan after a blasphemy accusation – with religious minorities disproportionately vulnerable to the same. The existence of blasphemy laws continue to embolden groups and individuals who threaten, attack or attempt to kill the accused, or anyone connected, including members of their community," Mahamoor said.

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