"The mob violence against innocent Christians has shocked but not surprised us. While the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the free expression of faith, radical Islam has made this extremely difficult and dangerous for Christians."
On August 15, hundreds of Muslims stormed the streets of Jaranwala, a suburb of Faisalabad in Pakistan, after two Christians were accused of blasphemy there.
If no life is to be deplored, the material balance drawn up by the episcopal conference Pakistani is heavy. At least 22 churches were ransacked and set on fire, more than 220 houses were set on fire or damaged by mobs. Christian cemeteries have been desecrated.
The situation is currently under control. 128 people were arrested. According to Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, two main defendants linked to the Jaranwala incident have been arrested and taken into custody. A commission of inquiry will be formed to investigate the incident. Additionally, Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi vowed on Thursday to "restore all Christian churches and houses" destroyed in the Jaranwala violence.
On Friday, a protest demonstration was organized by the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Diocese of Hyderabad.
Sunday a special day of prayer was organized in all Catholic communities in Pakistan, "for the incidents of Jaranwala and for peace and harmony in our country".
Speaking about the Jaranwala attacks, Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, said he was "shocked but not surprised".
"The mob violence against innocent Christians has shocked but not surprised us. While the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the free expression of faith, radical Islam has made this extremely difficult and dangerous for Christians. Anyone can be accused of saying or doing anything, and accusations can ignite a wildfire as we have seen this week.As a worldwide organization committed to serving the persecuted church, we will do whatever we we can to support our brothers and sisters in Pakistan."