Acts of unity amidst chaos: Neighbor’s courageous stand protects home in Jaranwala

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A remarkable instance of unity emerged in Jaranwala amidst the turmoil caused by accusations of blasphemy against the Christian community in the region. In the midst of the chaos and violence that erupted on August 16 due to these allegations, Malik Khalil Irfan, a resident of the troubled Christian Colony, demonstrated a profound act of solidarity.

Putting his own safety at risk, Malik Khalil Irfan displayed an inspiring example of coexistence by safeguarding his neighbor and close friend, Josephine, during the onslaught of rioters and arsonists. The incident took place in the Christian neighborhood within Jaranwala tehsil in Faisalabad, where more than 90 Christian households and 21 churches were subjected to vandalism.

In a courageous move, Malik Khalil offered refuge to Josephine and her children in his own home, shielding them from the attackers. What followed was a protective vigil outside Josephine’s house, as Malik Khalil Irfan prayed outside to prevent her residence from being set ablaze. This act of standing guard and hanging the prayer mat symbolized his commitment to preserving her property and safety.

The solidarity extended beyond religious boundaries, as Josephine acknowledged the support not only from her fellow Christian community members but also from her Muslim neighbors, who aided them during the attack. The gesture of solidarity was a beacon of hope amid the chaos.

As the situation gradually calmed down in the neighborhood, Josephine was able to return to her home, deeply grateful to Malik Khalil for his unwavering protection of her residence and life. Meanwhile, the law enforcement authorities, led by Punjab Inspector General Usman Anwar, made significant progress in apprehending the suspects responsible for the acts of vandalism. The use of advanced technologies like facial recognition, mobile phone geo-fencing, and data analysis from social media and official records played a crucial role in identifying and arresting over 160 out of 170 suspects.

The police investigation also revealed the involvement of religious figures, including a cleric, who are being examined for using mosque loudspeakers to incite protests based on the alleged blasphemy incident. These clerics amplified claims of desecration of the Quran, urging their followers to take a stand, even if it meant sacrificing their lives for their faith.

Summaiyya Qureshi is a journalist with Minute Mirror and writes about social issues besides geopolitics, foreign policy, and nuclearization. She can be reached at ( She is available on twitter at @SummaiyyaQ


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