In a shocking display of religious intolerance, an unprovoked attack on a church in Peshawar has ignited concerns over communal harmony and respect for diverse faiths.
Gun shots were fired at a church by a Muslim mob and the Pastor of the church sustained an injury to his right eye from a rifle butt.
Though the perpetrators were arrested they were later released without charge despite several police reports filed by parishioners of the church.
On August 4th, 2023, a disturbing incident unfolded at the Lalazar Colony, Peshawar, where a Christian evangelical worship event was targeted by a group of individuals fueled by religious animosity.
A distressing video, which swiftly went viral across various social media platforms, captured the unsettling scene. The footage shows a Muslim man approaching the church gate during the worship event, visibly agitated by the noise emanating from the service. The man is seen aggressively confronting Pastor Zulifiqar Gill, who was welcoming attendees at the entrance. In a grave display of hostility, the Muslim man demanded an immediate halt to the church service, threatening dire consequences if his demand was not met.
VIDEO: Man clashes with Pastor Zulfiqar and instigates a mob.
As tensions escalated, the situation took an alarming turn when the individual picked up a cricket bat, and wielded it menacingly. His actions extended to rallying fellow Muslims in the community, urging them to join him in attacking the church and its worshippers.
Disturbingly, the situation escalated into a frenzied mob attack, with additional individuals from the surrounding area converging at the scene. Gunshots were fired at the church building, and the attackers harassed and physically assaulted worshippers, leaving many injured and in need of medical treatment. The assault ultimately forced the discontinuation of the evangelical worship event.
During the chaos, Pastor Zulifiqar Gill, a prominent figure within the congregation, was subjected to physical violence, sustaining an injury to his right eye from a rifle butt. He is presently in recovery after receiving medical attention.
Local authorities were alerted to the unfolding crisis when a parishioner dialed emergency services (15). Swift police intervention led to the arrest of the attackers, who were subsequently taken into custody. Regrettably, despite compelling evidence of the attack and formal complaints lodged by church members, none of the apprehended individuals have been charged.
Responding to the distressing incident, the British Asian Christian Association has dispatched a team to Peshawar. Their mission is to stand in solidarity with Pastor Zulifiqar Gill and the affected Christian community. The association aims to provide support for legal representation and medical expenses through an established fund. Contributions to this fund can be made through donations (link provided).
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“We are deeply troubled by the disturbing incident that unfolded at the Lalazar Colony, Peshawar.
“The unprovoked attack on the church and its worshippers is a stark reminder of the urgent need for interfaith understanding and respect.
“This distressing event underscores the importance of fostering unity and peaceful coexistence within the diverse society, throughout Pakistan.
Our thoughts are with Pastor Zulifiqar Gill and the affected Christian community during this challenging time.
“We stand united in condemning such acts of violence and call upon the Government of Pakistan and other authorities, to take immediate steps to ensure justice for the beleaguered Christians affected by the recent violence.
“More must be done to promote harmony and tolerance among all faiths.”