Pakistani premier meets Christian community after Church attacks, vows justice

Pakistani premier meets Christian community after Church attacks, vows justice

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar visits churches, homes burned by mobs last week following alleged desecration of Quran

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday visited the churches vandalized and burned by angry mobs following alleged desecration of Muslim holy book of Quran in northeastern Punjab province, vowing the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

Along with the governor and interim chief minister of the province, Kakar met the Christian community leaders in the Jaranwala town and assured them that his government will ensure their safety and compensation, apart from a fair inquiry into the violent incidents, state-run Pakistan Television reported.

“I assure you that the government and the people of Pakistan stand beside you. A handful of miscreants cannot divide us,” Kakar said as he hugged the male victims and placed a hand on women's heads as a sign of respect.

"Being followers of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon Him), we are bound to protect you (minorities). We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder by our sisters and brothers," he maintained.

Recalling his early education at a Christian school, the premier lauded services of Christians and other minorities in development of the South Asian country.

The Punjab government has announced a compensation of 2 million rupees ($6,751) for each of the affected families, in addition to reconstruction of destroyed churches and homes.

Violent mobs, last week, attacked churches and the homes of Christian residents after a Christian man was accused of desecrating Islam’s holy book in Jaranwala, located 127 Kilometers (78 miles) from provincial capital Lahore.

The attacks occurred after some Muslims living in the area claimed they had seen a local Christian and his friend tearing out pages from a Quran, throwing them on the ground, and writing insulting remarks on other pages.

The rioters demolished the man’s house and damaged churches. The homes of other Christians living in the area were also targeted.

Interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that the key suspects involved in the incidents have been arrested.

Police have booked over 600 people on the charge of ransacking multiple churches and attacking properties of Christian minorities.

Some 160 suspects have already been detained, said Usman Anwar, the provincial police chief.

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