Pakistan: Mob lynches man accused of blasphemy inside police station
The mob dragged the man identified as Muhammad Waris from the prison cell in Nankana Sahib city and beat him to death.
A mob in Pakistan’s Nankana Sahib city entered a police station on Saturday and killed a man who was in custody on charges of blasphemy, reported the Dawn.
The victim, Muhammad Waris, had been accused of desecrating a few pages from the Quran. The mob had attempted to hang Waris on Saturday, but the police took him in custody. Videos shared on social media show a large mob scaling the gates of the Nankana Sahib police station and storming the premises.
“Police could not stop them [mob] because a handful of officials were present in the police station,” police spokesperson Muhammad Waqas told Reuters. The accused was taken out of the prison cell and dragged by the mob outside where they beat him to death. Police personnel were able to stop the mob from setting the body on fire, Waqas said.
Soon after the incident, Punjab Inspector-General Dr Usman Anwar suspended the Station House Officer and Nankana Sahib Circle Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Waraq, reported Geo News.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif criticised the incident and ordered an investigation, reported the news channel.
A report titled ‘A Breach of Faith: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2021-22,’ released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan earlier this year had flagged an alarming rise of blasphemy cases in the country.
“The low threshold of evidence for blasphemy must be raised to ensure that the laws in question are not weaponised by people to settle personal vendettas, as is so often the case,” the report has said.
The report also said that police data for 2021, shows that 585 cases were registered under the blasphemy laws in the year, the majority of which were filed in the Punjab province.