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Pakistan: Police intervene after mob attacks Christians

May 25, 2024

A crowd accused a Christian man of desecrating the Quran and burnt down his shoemaking factory in Sargodha, police said. Although Islam is Pakistan's official religion, there is also a small Christian minority.

A church in 68 Quarter, Islamabad, Pakistan
Christians are Pakistan's second-largest minority group, making up around 1.3% of the population. Pictured is a church in a slum of the capital, Islamabad.Image: Ismat Jabeen/DW

Hundreds of people in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province attacked a Christian community over blasphemy allegations, officials said.

The mob attack occurred in the Mujahid Colony area of the city of Sargodha.

What else do we know about the attacks?

The mob alleged that a Christian had desecrated Islam's holy book, the Quran.

Police said that the man's small shoemaking factory was burned down in the violence.

Officers rescued at least five people from the violence, Sargodha police chief Sariq Khan was cited by the Reuters news agency as saying. He said that all five had been taken to the hospital.

Khan said that rioters hurled stones and bricks at police.

District police chief Ijaz Malhi told the Associated Press news agency that the situation was under control, adding that police were investigating the blasphemy allegations.

He said that officers had dispersed the crowd and were seeking help from religious scholars to defuse tensions.

Violence against Pakistan's Christians

Islam is Pakistan's official religion and is professed by over 96% of the South Asian country's residents. Christians are Pakistan's second-largest minority group, making up around 1.3% of the population.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, the death penalty can be given to anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

While no-one has been executed for blasphemy, accusations have led to riots and mob violence.

In August of last year, mobs burned churches and attacked dozens in the Jaranwala area of Punjab province after Muslim residents claimed they saw Christians tearing out pages from the Quran.

In 2009, six Christians were killed and dozens of homes were burned down in the district of Gojra in central Punjab.

sdi/wd (AP, Reuters, dpa)