$6,800 Compensation Issued to Christian Families Affected by Pakistan Unrest

By Charles Igwe

Nearly 100 Christian families in Pakistan, whose homes were either destroyed or damaged in the aftermath of an alleged Quran desecration incident, received financial compensation on Monday. The caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, distributed 2 million rupees ($6,800) to each household as part of the compensation package. Ongoing police raids led to the arrest of additional rioters, increasing the total number detained in relation to the attacks in Jaranwala to 160.

The violent events unfolded after claims that a Christian man and his friend had desecrated the Quran, prompting hundreds of Muslims to rampage through the city. As a result, numerous Christians were forced to flee their homes, later returning to find destruction and damage. Many have remained outside due to concerns over the structural integrity of the burned buildings.

The severity of the rampage drew widespread condemnation, prompting Prime Minister Kakar to personally visit the area and meet with victims, ensuring them of state support and protection. Kakar pledged to safeguard the rights of minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Ahmadis, emphasizing that the perpetrators of the attacks would not escape justice.

Compensations were announced by Mohsin Naqvi, the senior official in Punjab province where Jaranwala is situated, via social media platform X (previously known as Twitter). Naqvi, who assessed the situation in the city and convened a meeting with local officials at a burnt church, promised that compensations and church repairs would be expedited.

However, challenges emerged regarding the accuracy of repair efforts, with a priest named Khalid Mukhtar disputing claims of comprehensive church reconstruction. According to Mukhtar, two churches only received a fresh coat of paint without substantial rebuilding. The rioters’ allegations of Quran desecration involved two individuals, both of whom have been arrested by the police.

The situation also revealed the involvement of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party, known for its hard-line stance and history of violent protests over perceived Quran desecration incidents. Despite Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which carry severe penalties for insulting Islam, capital punishment has not been implemented for such cases. Nevertheless, allegations alone have often led to violent reactions and mob justice.

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