Pakistani Christians held services at churches destroyed by a vigilante mob last week after two Christian brothers were accused of desecrating the Quran.
The services on Sunday at a handful of churches in the city of Jaranwala in eastern Pakistan were led by the bishop of the diocese, Christian community leader Akmal Bhatti said.
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He attended one of the services, which drew hundreds of Christians whose homes were partly or completely destroyed when the mob burned and looted them on Wednesday.
“My house is in ashes now. If the mob had so much anger, why did they burn houses and steal our belongings? Is burning the Bible not blasphemous?” Rasikh Bibi, who was among the people affected by the violence, asked Al Jazeera.
Bibi is currently living with her brothers in a nearby village, but keeps returning every morning since the attacks in hopes of salvaging belongings.
“My husband had given me some jewellery but that’s nowhere to be found,” she said.
Another affected person, Kiran Masih, said she came to a church service to pray for “patience”.
“What else do we ask for? What else are we left with now?” asked Masih.
The provincial government said in a statement on Sunday that compensation of two million rupees ($6,750) was approved for each of the affected families.
Paramilitary troops are now guarding the sites of the arson attacks in Jaranwala in Punjab province, including the historic Salvation Army Church and Saint Paul Catholic Church, three smaller churches, and scores of houses.
A Christian graveyard was also desecrated, residents and community leaders said, adding that the mob armed with iron rods, sticks, bricks, and daggers went on a rampage without any intervention by police and administration authorities, who were present there for more than 10 hours.
Police officials have denied this, saying they prevented the situation from growing even worse.
Members of the political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) spearheaded the violence, according to residents and government sources.
The TLP denied this, saying it joined the police in calming down the situation.
Police arrested the two Christian men accused of blasphemy and are investigating them, and said they rounded up nearly 160 people involved in the mob attack.
Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, but no one has ever been executed for it. Numerous people accused of blasphemy have been lynched by outraged mobs in the past.
A former provincial governor, Salman Taseer, and a minister for minorities were shot dead for trying to reform the blasphemy law.
Abid Hussain in Islamabad contributed to this report