LAHORE, Pakistan – A man who was a church elder and treasurer confessed to starting a blaze at his church in Pakistan and blaming it on Muslim extremists.
Police arrested Zubair Akhtar Khokhar for the Nov. 16 fire that damaged Gulberg Presbyterian Church in Lahore, Samuel Massey told Morning Star News.
Massey, pastor of the church, said footage from the church’s security cameras showed that Khokhar was the only person to enter and exit the building during the time frame of the fire.
Massey also told Morning Star that Khokhar confessed to having faked a letter, dated Oct. 16, that threatened Massey if he did not give up his position as pastor. The letter’s contents supposedly claim it was from an Islamist group. Zubair apparently set the fire after the letter’s threat did not cause Massey to quit.
According to Morning Star, “Church and community leaders said involvement of a congregation member in the arson had put Pakistani Christians in an embarrassing situation.”
Pakistan is No. 7 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.