Two Vandalised Churches Restored in Jaranwala As Punjab Govt Vows To Rebuild Impacted Colonies

Mohsin Naqvi holds a meeting of the caretaker cabinet in a burnt church and announces Rs2 million for each affected family

Two Vandalised Churches Restored in Jaranwala As Punjab Govt Vows To Rebuild Impacted Colonies

Less than a week after over a dozen churches were burnt and vandalised by a mob of thousands over alleged blasphemy, the Punjab government on Sunday announced that it had restored two of those churches and vowed to restore the remaining Christian worship places as well in a practical demonstration of solidarity with the minority community of the province.

Meanwhile, the provincial caretaker government announced Rs2 million as compensation for each affected family.

This was announced as Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi visited the vandalised churches in Jaranwala Tehsil of Faislabad district.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Punjab's Caretaker Information and Culture Minister Amir Mir stated that those involved in the Jaranwala tragedy would be brought to book and made an example of.

"The culprits involved in the Jaranwala incident would be dealt with an iron hand and would be brought to justice at the earliest," Mir stated. 

The information minister further said that as many as 94 families of the Christian community, who had to flee their homes for fear of being lynched by an angry mob, would be given cash grants.

Mir said Naqvi had instructed the relevant authorities to restore the remaining damaged churches in the area using government funds. 

"I will visit Jaranwala again and distribute cheques amongst the affected," CM Naqvi said and vowed to defend the rights of people belonging to all faiths across Punjab at any cost and in light of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) teachings.

Mir, in his messages on social media platform X (previously Twitter), further maintained that investigations into the Jaranwala incident are in full swing and the culprits and characters involved in this conspiracy would soon stand exposed and be dealt with an iron hand after that. 

"Punjab government is committed to defending the rights of Christians and people belonging to other religious minorities, and the culprits involved would be brought to justice at any cost," he concluded. 

Cabinet meeting in a burnt church

Earlier, Naqvi visited Jaranwala on Sunday along with his provincial cabinet to show solidarity with the Christian community.

Naqvi and his provincial ministers sat in the recently restored Association of Evangelical Churches (AEC) Church and participated in a prayer ceremony.

He assured the Christian community in Jaranwala that justice will definitely be provided and that his entire team was working for the provision of justice.

"I may have to visit 10 times, but all the churches will be restored," he said.

"In light of the letter written by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to the Christian community, we have to take complete care of the Christian community till the Day of Judgement," he reiterated.

He then presided over a meeting of the provincial cabinet inside the church to express complete solidarity with the Christian community.

The chief secretary presented a one-point agenda for the meeting: compensation for families affected by the attacks.

The provincial cabinet unanimously approved the grant of financial assistance worth Rs2 million to house owners, which were set ablaze in the Jaranwala incident. Naqvi added that the financial assistance will be provided within 48 hours.

Further, Naqvi said that construction and restoration work on two churches in Jaranwala had been completed within 72 hours, while construction and restoration on other churches will be completed soon.

Naqvi stated that his true purpose was to share the grief of the Christian community, adding that they would fulfil their promise to provide justice to the affected people. 

A special prayer was made in the church for the integrity, stability, progress, and prosperity of the people and for unity and solidarity of the country and the nation. 

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy. He also hosts the Hassan Naqvi Show on Naya Daur.