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Jaranwala Update

You may remember our reporting to you several months ago about the burning of churches and homes of Christians in Jaranwala in the province of Punjab. We thought you might appreciate this update and and rejoice with us in the help that has been given.

According to a government report, on August 16, 2023 the city of Jaranwala was ransacked by "a mob of 1,200 people, mostly youth." They "had gutted a total of 17* churches and 40 homes with an additional 40+ houses vandalized and partially destroyed. The incident was unprecedented in magnitude and in ferocity against a vulnerable minority community that had been living in the area for decades."

Reach the Nations (RTN) was able to respond to that devastation with immediate help through our ministry team in Punjab. But the need was far beyond our ability to meet alone.

We are happy to give you this update about the strong and supportive response from the Pakistan government and their commitment to work for the protection of minorities in their country.

We are also pleased to let you know that these positive responses to people who were in desperate need were the result of the work of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), an agency authorized by the government to speak up for and protect the rights of vulnerable minorities in Pakistan.

Manzoor Masih, a colleague in RTN, serves on the NCHR and joined them in inspecting the situation in Jaranwala the day after the attack. He is seated second from the left in the photo above.

Here is a quote from the government's follow-up report, "NCHR . . . inspected the gutted churches and met members of the church and affected community who described in detail the dreadful ordeal that they had gone through the day earlier."

In the next weeks, the NCHR continued to visit, assess need, and obtain more information, eventually reporting its findings and recommendations to the government.

As a result of the report from the NCHR and an open letter from the NCHR to the prime minister citing the systemic discrimination against religious minorities, the government has responded with aid to those who suffered loss through the attack including reconstruction of all 22 churches that were affected and compensation to families whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

Additionally, more investigation has resulted in several levels of legal action including 295 arrests.

We are thankful for the work of Manzoor and his associates on the NCHR and for their diligence in investigating and reporting the atrocities that occurred. And we are very thankful that the Pakistan government responded with assistance and compensation to those who lost so much.

Please keep praying for peace and harmony among the various religions and cultures in Pakistan.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” - 2 Corinthians 9:8

*Later revised to 22 churches


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