Unrest and chaos: Jaranwala grapples with violent demonstrations following Quran desecration claims

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Amid reports of an alleged Quran desecration incident in Jaranwala Tehsil of Faisalabad, the local atmosphere turned hostile as enraged protesters targeted the Christian population. Despite the presence of the police on site, a raging mob vandalized homes belonging to the Christian community, accusing them of blasphemy, and proceeded to set fire to nearby churches.

The wave of anger extended to government buildings as well, resulting in widespread destruction.

According to official accounts, the series of protests ignited on a Wednesday morning, triggered by news circulating on social media about the alleged desecration of Quranic scrolls by a group of youths in an area called Isa Nagri. 

Shaukat Masih, AC Jaranwala, shared that the situation escalated around eight to nine in the morning when reports of protests and arson in Isa Nagri surfaced. He stated that the protesters, brandishing sticks, even attacked the AC Jaranwala office.

The attack sent shockwaves through the area, leading to the closure of the local market while armed mobs roamed the streets. Videos and messages shared on social media hinted at mosques using loudspeakers to incite the locals over the reported desecration of religious scriptures, allegedly attributed to two Christian residents known as Rocky and Raja.

Despite a substantial police presence and assurances to the growing mob that the suspects would face lawful action, the charged crowds proceeded to attack the Christian colony. 

Evidently fearing for their safety, the Christian residents appeared to have fled the area. The mob not only ransacked the historic Salvation Army Church in the colony but also reportedly set it ablaze, in addition to attacking another local church and adjacent buildings.

While no casualties were reported, local mobs rallied in support of Tehreek-e-Labbaik and Khatam-e-Nabuwat, demanding the execution of the alleged culprits. The mobs congregated near Mehtab Masjid near Cinema Chowk. Some locals contended that timely police intervention could have prevented the situation from spiraling out of control.


Authorities are now working to regain control of the situation. A case was registered by the Jaranwala police against the two Christian youths on charges of Quran desecration and blasphemy. The First Information Report (FIR) detailed that the complainant discovered Quranic papers with blasphemous verses written in red pencil, along with a calendar, at the site. However, the accused had fled before their arrival.

A message from Faisalabad Police on Twitter addressed the citizens of Jaranwala, informing them about the registration of a case against those involved in the alleged Quran desecration.

The police urged protesters to refrain from provocation and vandalism. Raids have been conducted to apprehend the accused, although they have managed to evade capture. Punjab Police Chief Usman Anwar stated that negotiations with the protesters were ongoing, and the affected area had been cordoned off. 

He added that the Assistant Commissioner of the area Shaukat Masih, a member of the Christian community, had been evacuated after facing backlash.

In response to the incident, President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan Azad Marshall took to social media to express his concern. He reported that Bibles were desecrated, and Christians were subjected to torture and harassment, falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran. He appealed for justice and swift action from law enforcement, demanding assurance that the lives of all citizens are valued in their homeland. Bishop Marshall lamented the failure of the Pakistani state to ensure security for worship places of minority religions, asserting that the impunity granted to religiously motivated crimes has emboldened extremists and terrorists.


Shaheer Gul Khan is a final-year student of English Literature at Government College University (GCU) Lahore. Strives to create a challenging and engaging environment having editor skills in freelancing, a goal-oriented. He can be reached at Twitter @HafizShaheerGu1.