Pakistan's Punjab police chief said on Monday that three main suspects have been arrested for conspiring to trigger "Muslim-Christian riots" in the country.
Addressing a press conference here, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Usman Anwar said police have taken 300 suspects into custody for torching churches and homes of Christians in Jaranwala.
An enraged mob attacked scores of churches and Christian localities over blasphemy allegations against a Christian man in Jaranwala town of Faisalabad district, 130 km from Punjab's provincial capital Lahore, on August 16.
They also attacked a Christian cemetery and vandalised the office of the local assistant commissioner.
"An intelligence agency of an enemy country is involved in a conspiracy to have Muslim-Christian riots in the country. The hostile intelligence agency is involved in the Jaranwala incident. We have broken a network," Anwar said, without naming any country.
He said out of the 300 people arrested, 180 have been formally charged under terrorism cases.
"Three prime suspects behind the conspiracy to cause Muslim-Christian riots have also been arrested," he said.
He claimed that the network behind the conspiracy has been exposed and no such incident will occur in the future.
Earlier, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)'s fact-finding mission declared the mob attack on Christian worship places, their residences, and cemetery in Punjab province early this month was part of a "larger hate campaign against local Christians" and questioned the open involvement of radical Islamists and complicity of police in the incident.
"The attack on the minority community cannot be entirely deemed as random or spontaneous, with a suspicion that it was orchestrated as part of a larger hate campaign against the local Christians while the role of police and its ability to effectively mitigate and control the situation was also questioned," the HRCP said.
It says at least 24 churches and several dozen smaller chapels as well as scores of houses were torched and looted in a series of brutal mob-led attacks against the local Christian community on allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man.
According to Punjab police, 20 churches and 86 Christian houses were burnt down by the mob.
The HRCP has recommended reviewing the country's blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse against individuals or any religious minority.
"There is a need to develop policies and strategies to deal with organised extremist groups (like TLP) so that no individual or group can undermine the writ of the state," it said.
The Punjab government has announced a compensation amount of Rs 2 million each to 94 Christian families to help them rebuild their houses and lives.
According to Christian leaders, at least 200 houses have been damaged in the violence and all should be given compensation.