Pakistani authorities arrested more than 100 people Wednesday after a mob set fire to churches and vandalized homes in a minority Christian enclave as part of a riot sparked by allegations of blasphemy toward the Koran.
The interim Punjab government said it was investigating the rampage in the east of the country, on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad, where it was rumored that the Koran had been desecrated.
No deaths were reported, but at least four churches in Jaranwala were burned, and as many as a dozen religious buildings were damaged as the angry mob ransacked the city.
“They broke the windows, doors and took out fridges, sofas, chairs and other household items to pile them up in front of the Church to be burnt,” said 31-year-old Yasir Bhatti, who witnessed the chaos that forced him to flee his home. “They also burnt and desecrated Bibles, they were ruthless.”
Government sources told news outlets that the Islamist opposition party known as Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan incited the uprising, but the coalition later denied any responsibility.