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Pakistan red-faced as UAE flags targeting of churches


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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan indulged in a rare bout of diplomatic sparring following the burning of several churches and houses of the Christian community in Pakistan’s Punjab.

The UAE issued a statement over the weekend which “strongly condemned” the vandalisation of churches last week in Jaranwala town of Faisalabad district. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs also counselled Pakistan on the need to “respect religious symbols and avoid incitement and polarisation”.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded, without taking names, about “remarks by some governments on the August 16 violence in Jaranwala” and went on the defensive by stating that Pakistan would not rest until those responsible for the vile acts in Jaranwala were apprehended and brought to justice.

“The wheels of justice have been set in motion. The incident has also reignited an inter-faith dialogue of tolerance and mutual respect and understanding in Pakistan,” said Islamabad.

There is already disquiet in Pakistan’s elite that the UAE’s statement comes amidst several slights by Dubai. The UAE-Pakistan joint statement on January 13 failed to mention Kashmir and on August 13 night the Burj Khalifa was not lit up in Pakistani colours but the next day, its lights were arranged in an Indian Tricolour arrangement to celebrate Independence Day.

The Pakistani elite is also upset that the United Arab Emirates had nothing to say about the communal violence that has rocked Manipur for several months while a half-day incident in a mufassil town of Pakistan led to a sharp, condemnatory statement.

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