In a world where some leaders choose silence in the face of minority persecution, even attempting to obscure the matter—such as the plight of the Christian community in Manipur—Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar Kakar emerged as a forceful and articulate advocate for the rights and protection of minorities whilst abhorring the forces of intolerance and fanaticism.
In response to the deeply regrettable incident in Jaranawala, where a violent mob wreaked havoc by ransacking churches and attacking Christian residences, Prime Minister Kakar demonstrated decisive leadership. In contrast to regions where minorities are facing persecution under state endorsement, such as in Manipur, India, PM Kakar’s handling of the Jaranawala incident sent a resounding message that the Pakistani state remains unlinked to the forces of extremism and intolerance. His actions underscored the unwavering commitment of Pakistan to stand alongside victims of violence and ensure their safety, even in the face of adversity.
Both through his words and actions, Kakar demonstrated the sincerity of purpose not only to bring the culprits of Jaranwala incident to justice but also provide solace to the Christians that such events will not recur.
The response of the authorities concerned in the wake of attack on churches was prompt. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Punjab government called in the Rangers, a paramilitary force, to assume control over the troubled areas, preventing further escalation of violence. The provincial administration remained on high alert, while the IGP deployed a substantial contingent of 3,000 police personnel from various units, including the Elite Force, to restore order and protect the minority communities. Authorities swiftly launched a thorough investigation, leading to the arrest of at least 160 individuals, a mere day after the rampage. The swift action by law enforcement was a clear message that such acts of violence and intolerance would not be tolerated.
Then, the PM personally visited Jaranawala to send a loud and lucid message that the state stands with the victims of violence. Addressing a gathering of the Christian community in Jaranwala, he underscored the nation’s shared principles rooted in the teachings of the Holy Prophet and the values of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Prime Minister Kakar unequivocally condemned the persecution of minorities and emphasized that the rule of law would prevail against those who perpetrate such heinous acts. He categorically stated that the government and society at large would stand united against the forces of darkness, extending tangible support to those in need. In his resolute words, “Our actions will speak louder than our speeches.”
Prime Minister Kakar’s visit to the affected areas and his interaction with the victims’ families demonstrated not just a political duty but a genuine commitment to ensuring justice and healing for the affected communities.
The Jaranwala incident starkly illuminated a deeply ingrained societal issue of extremism and radicalism that transcends religious and sectarian boundaries. Prime Minister Kakar’s recognition of this reality emphasized the need for comprehensive solutions to combat such behavior, rooted in a profound understanding of the intricate dynamics at play.
A meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by the PM the other day also announced to hold an interfaith harmony conference next week. This initiative underscores the caretaker government’s commitment to addressing the underlying issues that contribute to such unfortunate incidents and fostering an environment of coexistence and understanding. By bringing together diverse religious leaders, scholars, and representatives, the conference aims to not only condemn acts of violence but also promote open dialogue, mutual respect, and the recognition of shared humanity. As the nation grapples with the aftermath of the Jaranwala incident, this conference serves as a tangible step towards healing and ensuring that the ideals of tolerance and unity prevail over forces of division and hatred.