1,000 Pakistani Christians ‘terrorized,’ Forced To Sleep Outdoors

After being attacked by raging mobs, a thousand Christians have fled their houses and are now sleeping on the streets.

According to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the amount of destruction in Jaranwala, near Faisalabad, is “down to the last lightbulb.”

Churches have not been spared in this week’s wave of violence. According to ACN, the number of churches and chapels targeted has risen to 21, with one source in the country who cannot be named for security reasons saying that many of them were set on fire and “nothing is left.”

The source told ACN that up to 1,000 Christians were forced to sleep in sugar cane fields after narrowly escaping rampaging mobs.

“They had been running away, trying to find somewhere where they could rest,” they said.

“Some of them went back to their homes desperate for something to eat but when they got home, they found everything destroyed — nothing to sit on, nothing to drink out of, not even a lightbulb.”

They added, “As we traveled around the area, we could see how the Christians’ homes were scattered — 50 or 60 here, two or three over there and yet every Christian home has been targeted, nothing left.”

Churches of all denominations have been targeted.

The source described the carnage: “In the churches they have attacked, everything is destroyed … the altar, statues — nothing is left. What they did to the statues of Jesus and Mary I cannot begin to describe.”

In a letter to ACN, Pakistani Archbishop Benny Travas criticized the government and authorities for failing to protect Christians.

He said that the violence showed that Christians in Pakistan are “in reality second-class citizens to be terrorized and frightened at will.”

“Once again, we have the same old condemnations and visits by the politicians and other government officials expressing their solidarity with the Christian community and that ‘justice will be done’ but in reality nothing materializes and all is forgotten,” he said.

Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi has condemned the violence in Pakistan, calling for swift action against those responsible.

Many Christian families have sought refuge outside the city, relying on friends and relatives. The Pakistani government’s lack of response to the violence is appalled, and the Church of Pakistan’s Moderator, Bishop Azad Marshall, has expressed distress at the incident, calling for justice and immediate intervention from law enforcement.

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