Around 100 Christian houses set on fire in Lahore over alleged blasphemy

LAHORE: In response to an alleged blasphemy committed by a Christian man, an outraged mob set on fire around 100 houses belonging to the Christian community in Badami Bagh area of Lahore on Saturday, Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.

According to reports, the mob also pelted stones on a police party that left SSP Operations Suhail Sukhera and the SHO of Badami Bagh injured among other policemen.

In the aftermath of the alleged blasphemy, a mob of almost 3,000 people on Friday forced the Christian community to flee for their lives, leaving behind their houses and possessions unprotected.

The charged group had gathered around Joseph Colony on Noor Road, led by Shafiq Ahmed, who was in search of the accused Sawan Masih.  The mob then attacked Sawan’s house, setting it on fire and pelting it with stones.

Other houses in the locality – home to about 150 Christian families – were also attacked.  Many residents, including women and children, hastily fled to save themselves.

Police booked Sawan under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council Allama Tahir Ashrafi said people should refrain from such acts of violence as the accused had been arrested.  He said such acts would create wrong impression of the country.

Other noted Ulema also condemned the violence and called on the government to provide protection to the Christians.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have taken notice of the incident of torching of the houses of Christian community and have called for a report into this unfortunate incident.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said the President while expressing grave concern over the incident of vandalism has directed the concerned authorities to ensure safety and security of life and property of the citizens.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also taken notice of the Badami Bagh incident. He has directed IG Punjab to carry out a thorough probe into the incident and submit a report.