A mob of thousands in Pakistan’s Lahore city burnt down dozens of houses in a Christian neighborhood on Friday after an alleged blasphemy by a resident of the area. According to Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune, the mob entered into the area, looted the houses and burnt them. Earlier on Friday, a mob had threatened the Christians of Badami Bagh of Lahore to leave the area, after the accusation of blasphemy by a Christian.
Shamelessly, Punjab Province Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said the person accused of blasphemy has been arrested, and those involved in the torching incident would be investigated. Despite the fact that thousands of mob had forced the community to escape the area on Friday, they managed to burn their houses on Saturday in presence of Police forces.
The inhuman criminal act of bigotry and inaction of the government of Pakistan to protect its minorities should be condemned. The international community and the United Nations have become a silent watcher of the brutal persecution of minorities where religious and ethnic groups are massacred regularly in a genocidal process. It is a shame on the face of humanity that the world watches in silence, while minorities are massacred to extinction. The government of Pakistan has failed to provide the basic right of existence to its citizens and the world needs to take action. It is not just with persecution of Christians under the fascistic blasphemy laws, but forced conversion and migration of Hindus, killings of Ahmadis, massacre of Shias and genocide of Hazaras where the government has failed to the point of complicity to ensure security of life to its citizens. State sovereignty is not the license to kill, but responsibility and accountability. We urge the UN Secretary General to send a Special Envoy to investigate the emergency crisis of persecution of minorities in Pakistan and take international action.
Punjab Province is home to terrorism and religious extremism in South Asia. Be it the Kashmir-focused Jihadi groups, sectarian death squads like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or the ideological patrons of Taliban, they are based in Punjab Province. The Provincial Government of Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League-N has been making alliances with banned terrorist outfits like LeJ. Their Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has sympathy for LeJ.
The Human Rights Watch’s Pakistan Director Ali Dayan Hassan has said the Punjab Government has spent almost its entire 5-year term in office being in denial about threats to minorities. The HRW has urged international governments and intergovernmental bodies to press the Pakistani government to repeal sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which includes the blasphemy laws that often provoke mob violence against religious minorities.