In a shocking incident, the Lala Zarr Church in Peshawar was disrupted during a healing prayer meeting, and its pastor was violently assaulted by a group of local Muslim men. The incident occurred on 3rd August at approximately 7:30 pm.
The fight began when a few men from the neighbouring area rushed into the church, demanding Pastor Zulfiqar to reduce the volume of the speakers. As the dispute escalated, several armed young men stormed the church, causing panic among the congregation. Fearing for their lives, given the history of attacks on churches in the region, women and children began to cry. Seizing the opportunity, the intruders vandalized the church and dragged Pastor Zulfiqar outside, where they brutally assaulted him with the butts of their guns, injuring his head and eye.
While no fatalities were reported, the attackers fired several shots inside the church, causing damage. Evidence of the fired bullets was later found on the church floor.
News of the attack spread rapidly as video clips and photos of the incident were shared on social media platforms. An eyewitness recounted that an unidentified individual had entered the church with a clear intent to harm, attacking worshippers with sticks and guns.
The National Commission for Human Rights in Peshawar expressed deep concern over the incident, condemning the violent attack on Pastor Zulfiqar and the vandalism of the Lala Zarr Church. They emphasized that such acts not only cause physical harm but also challenge the core principles of Freedom of religion and human rights. The Commission extended its support and legal assistance to the affected community.
Chaudhry Mansoor Randhawa member of Muslim League (N) Rawalpindi also condemned the attack, stating that Pakistan belongs to every citizen, irrespective of their faith. He lamented the rising religious intolerance in the country and criticized the government's inaction on such crucial matters. Randhawa further highlighted the increasing insecurity faced by the Christian community, leading many to leave the country. He urged the government to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, emphasizing that such acts tarnish the nation's reputation.
The incident underscores the urgent need for the government to protect minority communities and their places of worship, ensuring that they feel safe and respected in their homeland.