Pakistan: Mob beats up Christian man in Sargodha on charges of blasphemy, burns his house and factory

In Pakistan’s Sargodha city, a Christian man was beaten up by a mob on suspicion of blasphemy and his house and factory were set on fire.

According to Geo TV, the incident took place on Saturday morning when an angry mob, including children, barged into the house of the Christian man, damaged his belongings and set fire to a shoe factory located in the house.

Several videos on social media show mobs burning down houses and shoe factories. Some people are also shown warning people not to steal from shoe boxes.

In another video, a man covered in blood is lying on the road and people are kicking and punching him and cursing him for insulting the Quran.

Warning: This video contains foul language and graphic scenes. Viewers are advised to use discretion.

Sargodha district police officer Asad Ejaz Malhi told Pakistan’s Dawn News that the incident was reportedly due to sacrilege. He also stressed that a large number of police forces were present at the scene and no casualties were reported.

However, a video on social media shows firefighters standing at the spot while locals vandalise and set fire to the Christian man’s house. The firefighters are being warned not to extinguish the fire.

District police officer Malhi told Dawn that they had cordoned off the area and evacuated all the residents, including two Christian families, to safety.

“The police peacefully dispersed the crowd,” he told Dawn.

However, a relative of an injured man refuted the police claim and told Don that his uncle was in a critical condition at a local hospital.

Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, Home Affairs Secretary of Pakistan’s Punjab province, said in a press statement, “Pakistan belongs to all of us, any kind of injustice in the name of religion will not be tolerated. After a thorough investigation, action will be taken as per the law.”

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also reacted to the incident. “HRCP is deeply concerned by the situation unfolding in Sargodha where members of the Christian community in Gilwala village are reportedly at risk of their lives at the hands of a mob. There are unconfirmed reports that one person has reportedly been killed by the mob,” HRCP said in a post on X.

Situation of religious minorities in Pakistan

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are among the strictest in the world and have profound implications for religious minorities in the country. These laws, contained in the Pakistan Penal Code, provide harsh penalties for various forms of blasphemy, including insults to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, and insults to the Quran.

Religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Ahmadis, are disproportionately charged and convicted under these laws.

In August 2023, hundreds of Muslim men rampaged through the streets of Jaranwala, burning and vandalising churches and homes over allegations of blasphemy.

In June 2023, a Christian youth was sentenced to death and fined Rs 20,000 by a Pakistani court on Friday for allegedly committing blasphemy.

Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy in 2010 and spent several years on death row before being acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2018. Her case drew international attention and condemnation.

In December 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, which aims to grant citizenship to non-Muslim religious minority groups from three neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, where Islam is the state religion.

published by:

Rishabh Sharma

Published on:

May 25, 2024