A violent mob broke stormed a police station in Pakistan’s Punjab province, grabbed an accused arrested of blasphemy charges, stripped him naked, hanged him and then set him on fire.
According to reports, the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon at Nankana Sahib’s Warburton Police Station.
The faith of the person killed is unknown. He was accused of “desecrating the Quran”. Two senior police officers were suspended for failing to prevent the incident.
The videos went viral on social media and purportedly showed a violent mob scaling the large gates of Warburton Police Station, and opening it, following which the crowd outside stormed the building.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Usman Anwar is said to have taken note of the videos circulating on social media, and has ordered a proper investigation into the matter.
The police statement said that IG Anwar suspended Nankana Sahib Circle Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Waraq and Warburton Station House Officer Feroz Bhatti.
Violent mob in district Nankana Sahib lynched a blasphemy victim to death. The man was held in a Warburton police station after allegations for doing witchcraft by pasting his ex-wife’s picture on religious papers. pic.twitter.com/OySRDNgTak
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) February 11, 2023
According to Dawn newspaper, the IG has assigned a special investigative officer and asked him to submit the inquiry report immediately.
“No one is allowed to take the law into their hands no matter how influential they are,” the Punjab IG was quoted as saying.
“Strict departmental and legal action will be taken against those responsible for the incident, as well as the perpetrators of negligence and incompetence,” the IG said, according to the newspaper.
In Pakistan, a deeply conservative society, blasphemy is considered a serious crime.
The blasphemy laws, which can already mean death for those deemed to have insulted Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, can now also be used to punish anyone convicted of insulting people who were connected to him.
According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a Pakistan-based think tank, the Islamic country has reported a total of 1,415 cases of blasphemy since 1947.
According to the think tank report, a total of 18 women and 71 men were extra-judicially killed over blasphemy from 1947 to 2021.
But the think tank believes that the actual number of cases might be higher as not all cases are reported.
(With inputs from agencies)
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