Mob targets Christian community in Sargodha over alleged blasphemy
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed serious concern about the unfolding situation in Sargodha

at 1:17 am
POK and Kashmir News
Social media pic of the mob violence in Sargodha

Sargodha, May 25: In another incidence of violence targeting the Christian community in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a mob vandalized the homes and properties of Christians and looted the shoe factory of a Christian man who they accused of blasphemy in Sargodha’s Mujahid Colony. Two Christian families were rescued while at least 25 people have been arrested.

The mob attempted to set fire to the Christian man’s house and lynch him.

However, a large police contingent, including Sargodha Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal Siddiqui and District Police Officer (DPO) Asad Ejaz Malhi, arrived and controlled the situation.

“Over 2000 policemen have been deployed to control the situation,” DPO Malhi stated.

He warned that those inciting violence would be identified through CCTV footage and face legal action, adding that a thorough search operation was being conducted.

Sargodha District Police Officer (DPO) Asad Ejaz Malhi earlier told that the incident stemmed from alleged incident of desecration, but emphasised that a large police contingent was deployed and no fatalities were reported.

“When police arrived, the mob had gathered outside the houses. Officers cordoned off the area and safely evacuated all residents,” Malhi said, adding that additional police units were stationed throughout the city to ensure the safety of the Christian community.

“The police peacefully dispersed the crowd,” he added.

Social media footage showed a mob surrounding a bloodied man and a mob, including teenagers, wrecking furniture and looting boxes of footwear being manufactured in the factory owned by the Christian man.

A statement from Minority Rights March also said that videos of the incident showed a mob attack on a 70-year-old man “on the instigation of a local cleric” while the man’s home and factory were set ablaze.

“The videos of the attack clearly show officers of the Punjab police being present on the site as silent spectators which points towards their tacit approval and facilitation of the terrorists involved in the attack,” the statement said.

A statement from the Punjab police said Sargodha Regional Police Officer Shariq Kamal, DPO Malhi and other police officials responded promptly as soon as the incident was reported and reached the spot immediately, managing to save 10 lives and controlling the situation.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed serious concern about the unfolding situation in Sargodha, particularly in Gillwala village, where the Christian community was reportedly at grave risk. “There are unconfirmed reports of a man being lynched,” HRCP stated on X.

The HRCP urged Punjab Police and district administration to “immediately restore calm and bring the perpetrators to justice while ensuring the Christian community’s safety”.

The incident recalled last year’s mob violence in Faisalabad’s Jaranwala tehsil, where multiple churches in a Christian neighborhood were attacked over an alleged incident of desecration of the Holy Quran.

Minority Rights March said: “This attack once again points towards the sheer failure of the state and law enforcement agencies in curtailing growing extremism despite repeated directives from the Supreme Court as well.”

It said it condemned the “failure” of the Punjab government and police for “failing to learn from the Jaranwala attack last year and taking any concrete measures to curtail the growing radicalism.

“We condemn the state of facilitating once-banned outfits such as TLP (Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan), resulting in a Pakistan which is becoming unlivable for religious minorities with each passing day.”

The group demanded an “expeditious inquiry and action through a judicial commission and the one-man commission led by Dr Shoaib Suddle … not only against the mob involved in the attack but against the police officials and officers of the Punjab government who failed to take preemptive measures.”

It also demanded that any member of the Christian community falsely accused of blasphemy be provided protection and no false cases be lodged against them.

The group also demanded immediate action to control the law and order situation in Sargodha and for the police to ensure no vandalism or ransacking of residences belonging to the Christian community.

Human rights lawyer and politician Jibran Nasir termed it “another Jaranwala style attack on Christians in Sargodha with [a] mob attacking local community, burning and ransacking property”.

Taking to X, he denounced the “failure of the State to take any serious and sincere action against perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident” and how it “has only emboldened those who exploit religious sentiments for their criminal acts”.