Wedding Celebration in Khanewal Marred by Armed Raid and Looting

Khanewal: On November 26, late Saturday night, the manager of Seed Corporation, accompanied by approximately 10 to 12 armed men, stormed into the home of Khudda Buksh, a Christian family in the village of 81/82 10 R, district Khanewal. The family was in the midst of a wedding ceremony for Buksh's granddaughter, Sundas Arif, who had arrived from Karachi with her family for the occasion. The groom's family, based in Sialkot, had chosen Khanewal as a mutual location for the wedding to minimize travel distances.

According to Buksh, the intruders entered without any police presence or legal orders, abusing the young Christian girls present and snatching dowry items and money before leaving with threats. A complaint was filed at Saddar Police Station on 29 November. 

The family, which has long resided in the village with relatives spread across Karachi, Lahore, and Sialkot, was left feeling humiliated and vulnerable. The groom's family was due to arrive the next day for the matrimonial service.

Nargis Bibi, an elderly resident of the same village, recounted how the armed group disrupted the Mehandi (Rasm e Henna) ceremony, assaulting and robbing the guests. She questioned the disparity in respect shown towards women of different religions.

Pastor Wajid, who runs a local church and witnessed the incident, explained that the attack was supposedly in response to the theft of 70 sacks of seeds from a Punjab Seed Corporation sales point. The attackers, led by Plant Manager Muhammad Asim, suspected the Christian community, despite their primary occupation being fieldwork, not related to the government-run processing unit where the theft occurred.

The incident has sparked outrage among the local Christian community, who demand justice and criticise the police's failure to protect minority rights and properties. Mrs. Rahat Qamar, a guest from Karachi, expressed her dismay at the lawlessness and the inaction of the police following their complaint.

A Christian Journalist, Izhaq Javed from Mian Channu has called on the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Minister of Punjab to take action against the perpetrators, emphasizing the legal requirement for a search order before entering private homes and the need for police intervention in such matters. The community's protests highlight the ongoing struggle for minority safety and justice in the region.