Jehlum – Footprints: Fires of hatred

JHELUM: Sunday mornings in Jhelum are usually slow, but today an uneasy quiet pervades. For the Pakistan Chipboard Factory, located by the Grand Trunk (GT) Road, doomsday already occurred on Friday (Nov 20).

The decades-old facility has been turned into a vast heap of ashes and charred structures by an arson attack launched by a crazed mob. The crowd gathered in the wake of announcements made from mosques’ loudspeakers, calling on people to burn the facility down after one of its employees was arrested over allegations of blasphemy. What they didn’t burn down, they looted.

The main gate has been pulled down and the guard-post is burnt. The path leading into the premises is partially blocked by the melted and overturned hulks of two cars. At the reception, the computer monitors have been hacked into pieces, fragments of them strewn all over the floor.

Chipboard sheets manufactured just before the attack have been reduced to a smouldering mound in the main production area, still emitting smoke, which rescue staff are trying to douse with sprays of water. In the main factory building, too, machines are broken and half burnt.

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