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Pakistan: Christians still feel impact of Jaranwala riots 3 months later

For information about the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan, see here.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistani Christians still feel impact of Jaranwala riots 3 months later,” by Zeeshan Yaqoob, Christian Post, November 11, 2023:

In August, mobs of religious extremists ravaged more than 200 Christian homes and over 25 churches during devastating riots in Jaranwala, Pakistan. Immediately following the attacks, national and international support arrived, providing emergency food, clothing and limited financial assistance. But three months later, the long-term needs of many of the victims remain largely unaddressed.

The aftermath of the riots has left a lasting and wide-ranging impact on the well-being of Christian families in the area economically, socially and religiously.

Local pastor and activist Nazir Masih* recently spoke with Global Christian Relief about the devastation caused by the Jaranwala attackers in several Christian areas, ranging from large urban neighborhoods to smaller outlying regions.

“The main areas have received more prominent support from donors and aid organizations,” he said. “But, unfortunately, smaller villages in rural contexts were overlooked. There was a lack of support reaching those communities.”

Munir stated that in some of these neglected areas, walls of homes and churches were destroyed by tractors of religious fanatics from the village, leaving the victims with shattered homes, heightened poverty and increased trauma.

He emphasized the crucial need for prayers and support in these forgotten communities.

Smaller churches from these rural areas have counted themselves underrepresented in a Join Action Committee formed by congregations in nearby Faisalabad to address the issues in Jaranwala.

Lacking adequate funds and assistance, these underprivileged churches have found an advocating voice through local leader and pastor Naveed Azeem*.

Azeem says the Pakistani government has reconstructed larger mainstream urban churches, but smaller ones are still awaiting attention.

“Only about 20% of the damaged churches have been rebuilt by the authorities in Jaranwala. Of the five pastors’ homes which were vandalized and demolished, all remain in disrepair and have yet to receive necessary support,” he said. “Many contractors have stopped construction and renovation work, claiming they haven’t received further funds from the government.”

Another local pastor, Samson Nayyar*, cites a concerning increase in religious hatred within the majority community towards the Jaranwala victims, who are often unjustly labeled as blasphemers….

*Name changed for security reasons

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