Jaranwala Incident: Overseas Pakistanis urge President Alvi to punish those involved in Jaranwala incident

ISLAMABAD: The Overseas Pakistani Christian Alliance (OPCA) condemned the Jaranwala incident in which 19 churches and multiple houses were gutted in a suspected arson by a mob and urged the government to punish those who are responsible for this crime.
In a petition to Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi, OPCA said that if the government failed to punish those criminals then it would create more insecurity among the religious minorities. It will also result in more isolation of Pakistan on the international front and its failure as a free and fair democratic state.
The Jaranwala incident took place on August 16 where a total of 19 churches were fully gutted and 89 Christian houses burnt down in the recent violence targeting the Christian community.
“It was not a single act by a small group, at a specific location. Homes of the Christian community were attacked all over the city and the neighbouring villages by armed Muslims who looted and burned from dawn to dusk. Emotionally Charged by their Imams, the angry, insane mob did not even spare graveyards, churches or Bibles. They destroyed every symbol of Christianity without any feeling of guilt or any burden on their conscience,” OPCA said in the petition.
“It only took a few announcements from the local mosques about baseless allegations of blasphemy and desecration of the Quran. In the next few hours, the Pakistani Christian community became the target of the greatest act of violence ever recorded in the history of Pakistan. The atrocities carried out by the mob were sheer violence against the human rights that are recognized in the United Nations Universal Charter, namely; the light to life and liberty, the right to be respected, the right to protection of their property, the right to safety against torture, cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to freedom of religion and belief,” the petition read.
OPCA further stated that the Christian community in Pakistan feels insecure due to random mistreatment in all parts of the country, several Christian people are still in lockups during this incident and their scared children and families and surviving in destroyed homes with terrifying conditions of distress.
“We need justice and appeal to free them as soon as possible,” the statement added.
Recalling the Shanti Nagar and Sanga Hill incident, the OPCA said that the Pakistan government has not punished those who were involved in that crime.
The OPCA urged the United Nations, the European Union and the world governments to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and to protect the human rights of religious minorities.
“We especially urge the EU to link the renewal of Pakistan’s JSP-plus status to the condition of human rights and the protection of religious minorities: to put the GSP+ status on hold until there are fruitful steps taken by the Pakistani government and the concerned authorities, with clear legislations and policies made for the protection of the religious minorities, resulting in severe punishment to the culprits involved in violating their rights,” the petition added.
In the petition, they also shared the details of the protest that took place on August 30 in the Netherlands against the “ruthless events” of August 16 in Jaranwala.
“It is our deepest concern over the mistreatment, harassment and persecution of religious minorities that has continued since the creation of Pakistan, and now so flagrantly displayed by the violence against Christians that was tolerated and even permitted by the authorities,” the petition added.

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