Pastor Riaz Rehmat from United Christian Church in Lahore’ Fazalia Colony narrated the sacrilegious rampage of police at the church during the Sunday prayer on June 12. Although the constable who had violated the sanctity of the church has been suspended, yet local Christians are left astounded and resentful.
Purportedly a Muslim resident Shabir Shah living next to the United Christian Church called the emergency police helpline and complained that the church was causing nuisance, as the sound volume was too high and that church is not showing veneration during the holy month of Ramzan. The complainant claimed that the church is violating the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act of 2015.
Head constable Amir Abdullah stormed into the church during the Sunday service and passed derogatory remarks about the Christian congregants. He yelled at them to stop the worship. When Pastor Riaz Rehmat asked him to refrain from hindering the prayer service, he brazenly marched up to the pulpit and slapped the pastor.
Pastor Riaz Rehmat says, “Four policemen arrived at the church at about 10:30am and asked for me while the church service was going on. I spoke to them, and Constable Muhammad Nawaz, who is on duty at the church every Sunday, told them we did not use a loudspeaker.”
Pastor Riaz Rehmat further told, “He ran towards the church in a fit of anger, wielding his gun.” “He shouted at the worshipers and told them to discontinue the service and stop ‘making noise’,” according to the pastor. “I went after him and told him to go out of the church. He began to beat me,” he explained.
On the other hand, the Ichhra police station’ house officer Bilal Hanif, said, “It was Constable Amir Abdullah’s personal act and does not reflect police policy. He has been suspended from duty.” He further stated, “A departmental inquiry has been launched and senior police officers are investigating the matter.” He disclosed that Shabir Shah, had previously made a similar complaint a week prior to the incident. “We are investigating that matter as well.”
Pastor Riaz Rehmat further expressed his views about the complainant saying, Shabir Shah is of hardline mindset. “About three years ago, he arrived at the entrance of the church gate on a Sunday, before the service had started. He yelled that the music must stop. I told the police and the local political leaders, after which the matter was settled. No criminal case was lodged.”