Christian protesters, police clash in Pakistan
By ZAHEER BABAR
The latest incident began Friday after a Muslim in the eastern city of Lahore accused a Christian man of blasphemy - an offense punishable by life in prison or even death. A day later, hundreds of angry Muslims rampaged through the Christian neighborhood, burning about 170 houses.
Authorities have arrested 160 suspected members of the mob, many of whom were identified through TV footage and photos published in newspapers, said police officer Abdur Rehman.
But it remains to be seen whether anyone will be held to account. Mob violence is not uncommon following blasphemy allegations, and police often round up large numbers of suspects. However, these arrests rarely result in actual convictions.
There have been no convictions related to a deadly attack on Christians in 2009 in the eastern city of Gojra that was also sparked by blasphemy allegations, the Express Tribune newspaper reported Sunday. Angry Muslims burned dozens of houses in Gojra, killing eight Christians - seven of them from one family trapped in a burning home.
I’m mildly surprised the AP is giving such full context to the story. What MSM newspapers and broadcast outlets do with it - if anything - may prove to be another story. That Pakistani Christians rioted - assuming no false-flag provocateurs - is an understandable reaction to years (or decades!) of oppression and police-collusion with Muslim attackers. Re the latter, whether Pakistani police turn a blind eye out of religious bigotry or stay clear from fear (or both) the murdered Christians are dead, and the destroyed homes are destroyed. The Christian rioters likely simply see anti-Christian violence, police not acting to prevent it, and Muslim attackers getting wrist slaps or less for destroying businesses, destroying homes and committing murder. Understandable, but still wrong. Whether I could/would do better, I have no idea (just anticipating a predictable question and being honest). Counter-rioting is also likely to be counter-productive, bringing on worse oppression. But when the police, courts and government won’t or don’t do their jobs, there will be citizens who try to fill that breach.