Pakistan: Mob stones man to death for allegedly desecrating Quran, 62 arrested
Blasphemy or the act of speaking profanely about god or sacred things is punishable by death in the country.
A mob in Pakistan’s Khanewal district of Punjab province allegedly stoned a middle-aged man to death on Saturday after accusing him of desecrating the Quran, Dawn reported.
The incident took place in the Jungle Dera village. Hundreds of people had gathered in the village after evening prayer announcements that a man allegedly tore pages of the Quran and set them on fire.
The man who died was identified by the BBC Urdu as Mushtaq Ahmed, a resident of the Bara Chak village.
Eyewitnesses told Dawn that a police team had reached the village before the mob, but people in the crowd snatched Ahmed from the station house officer’s custody. The man claimed innocence, but the villagers tied him to a tree and then hit him with bricks, leading to his death.
Two policemen were injured when they tried to take Ahmed back into their custody, PTI reported. “They [members of the mob] chanted religious slogans and attacked the two policemen who tried to bring the victim’s body down from the tree,” said police officer Muhammad Amin. “Once fresh reinforcements arrived in the village, they shifted the body to a mortuary.”
The police have registered a first information report against about 300 people and have arrested 62 persons. The police are carrying out raids to arrest the remaining persons, Amin said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he has asked for a report from the Punjab Inspector General on action taken against the culprits, and against police officials “who failed in their duty”.
“We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands & mob lynchings will be dealt with full severity of the law,” Khan said.
In Pakistan, blasphemy or the act of speaking profanely about god or sacred things is punishable by death.
The lynching in Khanewal district comes two months after a Sri Lankan man was burned by a mob in the Sialkot district of Pakistan’s Punjab province on alleged blasphemy allegations.