Pakistan: Christian man attacked by mob in Sargodha on charges of 'blasphemy', house set on fire

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

An angry mob attacked a Christian man, vandalised his house and set property on fire in Pakistan's Sargodha city on Saturday in what the mob alleged was an incident of 'blasphemy', Geo News reported.

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This is one of many incidents that highlight the dire situation faced by religious minorities in Pakistan, who continue to face threats of persecution and attacks.

The incident took place in Mujahid Colony of Sargodha in Punjab province. The angry mob set fire to a shoe factory built in the victim's house. They also burnt tyres and damaged electrical equipment in the area.

The situation could be brought under control after heavy police force reached the spot.

Police managed to rush the injured victim along with other injured persons to hospital by ambulance before detaining several suspects involved in the incident.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal confirmed that the mob also attacked the police team with stones but were later dispersed, Geo News reported.

The RPO said the incident was being investigated and those disturbing law and order would be dealt with strictly.

Meanwhile, Sargodha District Police Officer Asad Ejaz Malhi told Dawn that the incident was reportedly over sacrilege. He said police cordoned off two houses in the colony and “safely evacuated all residents.”

According to Dawn, unconfirmed footage on social media showed a crowd surrounding an injured man and separate videos showed men, some of whom appeared to be teenagers, breaking furniture outside a house.

When asked about the videos, DPO Malhi said these were “fake videos” and insisted that no one was hurt in Sargodha district. “The police are maintaining law and order,” he said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over the situation in Sargodha and urged the Punjab Police and district administration to restore peace in the area and bring the culprits to justice immediately.

“HRCP is deeply concerned by the unfolding situation in #Sargodha where the lives of members of the Christian community in Gilwala village are in grave danger, reportedly at the hands of a mob. There are unconfirmed reports of one man reportedly being beaten to death,” HRCP posted on Twitter.

“Punjab Police @OfficialDPRPP & District Administration must immediately restore peace and punish the culprits and ensure that no further harm is caused to the Christian community,” it said.

A similar but even bigger incident took place in Jaranwala, Pakistan in August last year.

More than 21 churches and over a hundred houses were burned, some reduced to rubble, in a mob attack in Jaranwala on charges of 'blasphemy'. In addition, hundreds of homes were looted and set on fire in 11 areas of Faisalabad district. In addition, 10,000 Christians were immediately relocated and 20,000 people were affected by the incident.

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