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Interim Pakistani Prime Minister Tours Riot-Hit Jaranwala, Offers Compensation To Affected Christian Families

During his visit, Kakar demonstrated the government's commitment to upholding the rights and safety of minority communities.

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar
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In a heartfelt show of solidarity, Pakistan's interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar embarked on a poignant visit to the beleaguered town of Jaranwala in Punjab province. This town, still reeling from the aftermath of a violent outburst by radical extremists, witnessed the torching of 21 churches and numerous homes of the Christian community last week, fueled by accusations of blasphemy.

During his visit, Kakar demonstrated the government's commitment to upholding the rights and safety of minority communities. In a move to assist the affected families in their recovery, he personally handed out compensation checks of Rs 2 million (approximately USD 6,800) to nearly 100 Christian families. These funds will serve as a step towards rebuilding their homes and lives, according to PTI reports.

Standing amidst the charred remnants of the Christian community's churches and dwellings, Kakar vowed that those responsible for the egregious attacks would be brought to justice. "The law of the country will take its course," he affirmed, "to ensure that such incidents shall not darken our nation's future."

Meanwhile, the restoration and rehabilitation efforts in Jaranwala are already underway. The caretaker Prime Minister took time to assess the progress of the renovation work, underscoring the government's dedication to rebuilding the places of worship and residences that had suffered at the hands of the rampaging mob.

As he departed for Jaranwala, Kakar conveyed his empathy and solidarity with the Christian community through a tweet. His visit was met with a significant development, as the main culprits behind the incident were apprehended under the watchful eye of Punjab's caretaker Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi. Assuring further restitution, Naqvi declared that the damaged churches would be restored and the compensation funds disbursed to the affected families, a measure that would aid in the rebuilding process for 94 families.

While these steps towards healing are commendable, it is evident that the scars run deep. Catholic Diocese of Faisalabad Vicar General Fr Abid Tanveer voiced concerns over the chief minister's actions, asserting that the heart of the Christian community, the Catholic Church, had been ignored in the restoration efforts. A sentiment shared by many, this oversight has sparked protests and lamentations from Catholics who feel that their plight has been overlooked.

The interfaith tapestry of Pakistan has been marred by incidents like these, reflecting the complexity of issues surrounding blasphemy. The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) noted that, until August 16 of this year, nearly 200 individuals had faced accusations of blasphemy. This poignant figure highlights the urgency of fostering an environment where the rights and safety of all individuals, regardless of their faith, are upheld.

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