Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2709

Six die in Christian-Muslim riots over blasphemy issue in Pakistan

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

[caption id="attachment_3358" align="alignright" width="460" caption="Christians chant slogans behind a banner reading, 'Provincial government immediately take steps to arrest the culprits,' during a rally to condemn the attacks on Christians by Sunni Muslims, in Lahore . -AP Photo "]Christians chant slogans behind a banner reading, 'Provincial government immediately take steps to arrest the culprits,' during a rally to condemn the attacks on Christians by Sunni Muslims, in Lahore . -AP Photo [/caption]

Lahore, 02 August, (Asiantribune.com): Six people were killed and several others injured in a clash and exchange of fire between two groups outside railway station in Gojra tehsil of Toba Tek Singh in Punjab on Saturday.

Tension between Christian and Muslim communities escalated in eastern Pakistan Saturday following allegations that a Quran was defiled, leaving six Christians dead, including a child, authorities said.

On Saturday exchange of fire took place between the two groups when a protest rally of Muslims fired upon by someone when it was passing through the Christian neighbourhood which resulted in killing of six people.

Tension between the Christian and Muslim communities in the area arose after pages containing Islamic inscriptions were found in front of a Christian home on July 26 following a wedding.

A group of Muslims then interrogated those who attended the wedding party, and accused the family of desecrating the Qur'an. The family says it has no knowledge of the offence but nevertheless apologized on July 30, saying that children who did not know what they were doing could have been responsible.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defaced 'and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration.'

Sanaullah said that although the situation had calmed down by Friday, 'some miscreants and extremists entered the city today and pushed people toward armed clashes.'

Another minister, Dost Mohammad Khosa, said the issue of the alleged desecration had been settled.

'Today, somebody opened fire at a peaceful rally that was passing by a Christian neighborhood. That made things worse. We are sure some miscreant elements have tried to exploit the situation,' he said. Faislabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain told local television that representatives of the two communities were to meet later Saturday in an effort to calm the situation.

Earlier a mob burnt 75 houses of Christians over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-Faisalabad Road, late on Thursday, Christian leaders said.

Christian leaders Atif Jamil Pagaan and Ashfaq Fateh told a press conference that 75 houses were burnt and two churches ransacked by the residents of a neighboring village over reports that Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and his son Imran Maseeh had desecrated the papers inscribed with Holy Quran verses at a wedding ceremony.

The mob blocked Gojra-Faisalabad Road to block the entrance of fire brigades to the village. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Minorities and Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael visited the locality on Friday and urged both sides to remain peaceful.

Shahbaz Bhatti said the attackers belonged to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, which is accused of launching attacks against the security forces and carrying out bombs attacks at public places in the country in recent years.

- Asian Tribune -

Share this


.