Gujar Khan church gutted after Friday service

Published March 31, 2024
A Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city that was gutted after Friday service. — via X (formerly Twitter)
A Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city that was gutted after Friday service. — via X (formerly Twitter)

LAHORE / GUJAR KHAN: A Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan city was engulfed in flames overnight, officials confirmed on Saturday.

Local sources claimed there had been an argument between the owner of a nearby plaza and the Christian community as the church administration had closed a nearby street for security purposes on Good Friday.

However, Rawalpindi CPO Khalid Mahmood Hamdani told Dawn initial investigation showed the fire was caused due to a short circuit, adding that they did not find any inflammable material on the spot.

In reply to a query, the CPO said they had investigated the issue and the owner of the plaza had nothing to do with the fire.

The Christian community later staged a protest outside the church and demanded investigations and compensation for the damages from the Punjab government.

The caretaker of the church, Elder Javed, told media police had registered a complaint mentioning short circuit as the reason behind the fire, though he had not reported this in his statement.

He said a resident of the area had an argument with them. Mr Javed alleged that he or someone else at his behest had torched the church.

Assistant Commissioner Gujar Khan Murad Hussain Nekokara assured the protesters of a fair investigation into the incident.

A Church official told Dawn that the owner of a nearby plaza had asked the church administration to remove the tents erected to block the road and street for security purposes on Good Friday, but police and locals intervened and pacified the matter.

The church was then locked for the night, but they heard about the fire on Saturday morning. By the time they reached the spot huge flames were leaping out of the church building.

He said most of the church furnishings were also destroyed in the fire.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2024

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