Pakistani Muslims torch scores of Christian homes
Angry mob burns over 100 homes in protest against a Christian who was arrested after being accused of insulting the Prophet.
A demonstrator burns a cross during a protest in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore March 9, 2013. Photo: Stringer Pakistan/Reuters
An angry mob of Pakistani Muslims burned scores of homes belonging to Christians
on Saturday to protest against a Pakistani of that faith who was arrested after
being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammed.
According to media
reports from the Badami Bagh district near Lahore, over 100 homes were
The arrested man was said to be Sawan Masih, described as being
in his mid-20s.
The Express Tribune, a Pakistani news outlet, reported
that President Asif Ali Zardari had asked authorities for a report about the
destruction of homes.
The news outlet said a Muslim mob estimated to have
included close to 3,000 people forced members of the local Christian community
to flee, leaving their homes and possessions unprotected. It added that Masih’s
father was severely beaten.
“Mob wanted police to hand over the alleged
blasphemer,” Hafiz Majid, the top police official in Badami Bagh, told
Pakistan has strict blasphemy laws outlawing criticism of Islam and
the Prophet Muhammed. A violation can result in the death penalty.
has denied the charges against him.
The Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan (HRCP) blasted Pakistani authorities for failing to act against the
persecution of Christians.
“Instead of investigating the case, the police
arrested Christians while those who went on a rampage and can easily be
identified from television footage have gone scot-free,” complained HRCP
chairwoman Zohra Yusuf.