Abu Dhabi [UAE], August 20
The United Arab Emirates has strongly condemned the burning of a number of churches and dozens of homes by extremists in Pakistan, and denounced the coinciding violence that has taken place, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UAE said in a press statement on Saturday.
The Ministry affirmed the UAE’s permanent rejection of all practices aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human and moral values and principles, stressing that hate speech and extremism contradict international efforts to spread the values of tolerance, coexistence and peace among peoples, the press release said.
Furthermore, the Ministry stressed the need to respect religious symbols and avoid incitement and polarization at a time when the international community needs to work together to reaffirm a commitment to upholding the universal principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, which should be promoted and implemented to achieve stability and sustainable development.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) commended the efforts and diligence of the Pakistani government and the measures it implemented in confronting these criminal acts.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, a mob made its way through a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad after allegations that the Holy Quran had been desecrated.
Over 100 people were arrested in connection with the church vandalism case, Geo News reported citing the Punjab interim government’s spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Christian leaders alleged that the police remained silent spectators, Dawn reported.
A day after the arrest of over 100 people in connection to the incident, Jaranwala police of the Faisalabad District on Thursday said that they have registered two terror cases against 600 people for ransacking and torching Christians’ homes and a church building a day ago, reported Dawn.
Multiple churches were vandalised in the Jaranwala district of Pakistan’s Faisalabad on Wednesday over blasphemy allegations, Pakistan-based Dawn reported citing officials. Moreover, the residents of the members of the Christian community were also attacked.
A Christian cemetery and the office of the local assistant commissioner were also vandalized during the attack.
It identified eight people as leading the mob, one of whom is allegedly affiliated with the Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat and another with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Dawn reported.
The FIR invoked sections pertaining to “punishment for acts of terrorism” — of the Anti-Terrorism Act, of 1997.
According to the FIR, the mob “threw out people’s belongings from their homes and started setting them on fire.”
The suspects also “entered a Catholic church, destroyed the things there, and damaged and torched its building”, it added.
The complaint further stated that subsequently, a police contingent arrived there from Faisalabad headquarters and launched tear gas, “forcing the crowd to disperse,” reported Dawn.
Moreover, the cop further said that he along with other officials were at Fawara Chowk at 9:30 am when they heard an announcement on the mosque’s loudspeaker regarding an incident of blasphemy and inciting people for violence.
Following that, around 500-600 people gathered in front of the mosque and were armed with sticks, canes and rods and started shouting slogans. The mob then incited to attack the homes and churches of the Christian community.
The officials added that the police party tried to stop the mob but they resisted and started forcefully entering homes of the Christian community and setting churches ablaze, reported Dawn.