Police arrested Muslim man Azhar Akbar for burning the Bibles and Holy books in Victory Church at Sandha village Kasur.

On Wednesday 6th of January when local Christian Siddiqa Bibi went to Church for prayers, she was astonished to see smoke.

As she entered the Church she saw a man burning Bibles and Hymns books, so she rushed to call her husband, John Masih.

When Azhar saw them he tried to escape but John and Siddiqa locked the Church door.

Meanwhile other people came to know about the incident and someone called the police, instead of taking the law into their own hands, and the officers collects the ashes of the burnt books as evidence.

Azhar was handed over to the police for legal proceedings and they assured the congregants that they will take the appropriate action against him. Azhar identified himself to the police and said he lived in Sialkot – another town miles away.

It has a mixed population of Christians and Muslims and they never had such a trouble before.

The incident has deeply saddened the local Christians and they are also concerned something may happen again. However, local Muslims have expressed their solidarity with the local Christians for their religious grievances.

Police Inspector Tariq suggested that Christian Religious Leaders must approach Government of Pakistan to affirm legislation for such incidents where their Holy Books are being burnt specifically.  He further said that ‘it is a Muslim obligation to take Bible as a Holy Book’ and Muslims ought to respect it by all means’.

Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK said that this was just the first indecent of the year, of the continuous attacks on churches and towns in Pakistan.

“It is only the first week of the New Year and the incident has not just saddened Christians, but it has injured their religious feelings.

It is the same District where last year Shama and Shahzad were burnt in the brick kiln furnace. Pakistan’s Supreme Court had taken a suo motto of their killing but nobody has been punished so far.

“Punjab is the province where Christians are persecuted most, their churches are attacked and their towns are set on fire. But unfortunately the Punjab government has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Instead, sometimes it has been seen that perpetrators belong to the ruling party and the police avoid taking stern action against them.”

Mr Saeed further said Christians are considered people of the Book but because of the growing hatred and intolerance against them, such incidents continue to grow. Apart from the government it is also the duty of the Ulemas to play their role to promote religious commonalties and such understating so people refrain from attacking churches and desecrating the holy books of the Christians and injuring their religious feelings.