Pakistan mob lynches man accused of blasphemy, drags body on street – Times of India

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ISLAMABAD: A man arrested over blasphemy allegations was lynched in Nankana Sahib district of Pakistan’s Punjab province Saturday after a mob broke into the police station where he was being held.
Police said 35-year-old Muhammad Waris had been taken into custody for allegedly desecrating the Quran. They said the news of the alleged crime outraged residents and they amassed at the gate of the police station, demanding the accused be handed over to them.
The fatal attack came nearly two weeks after Pakistan assured a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council that it was taking steps to counter misuse of blasphemy laws. The offense is punishable by death, while mere allegations can cause riots and the killing of the accused by vigilante groups.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are used to settle personal scores as well as for intimidation of religious minorities.
In videos that surfaced on social media, the mob can be seen scaling the gate, forcing it open, and entering the building. Overwhelmed by the large crowd, police officers fled.
The mob then searched the building, found the accused and killed him before dragging his body naked through the streets as more people threw stones at the corpse.
A police spokesperson told reporters that reinforcements were able to prevent the mob from setting the body on fire.
A senior officer at the police station had been suspended for failing to prevent the mob assault and an immediate inquiry ordered.
PM Shehbaz Sharif denounced the attack and ordered authorities to investigate. “Why didn’t police stop the violent mob? The rule of law should be ensured. No one should be allowed to influence the law,” Sharif’s office said.
In February 2022, a middle-aged man was stoned to death by a mob over the alleged desecration of the Quran in a remote village of Punjab’s Khanewal district.
A Sri Lankan factory manager was beaten to death by co-workers in Punjab’s industrial city of Sialkot in December 2021 after falsely accusing him of insulting Islam. A court later sentenced six men to death for lynching the foreigner.
Last year, the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a Pakistani think-tank, stated in a report that as many as 89 people were killed in 1,415 accusations and cases of blasphemy in the country since 1947. According to the report, from 1947 to 2021, 18 women and 71 men were extra-judicially killed over blasphemy accusations. The allegations were made against 107 women and 1,308 men.
Out of the total, 1,287 citizens were accused of committing blasphemy from 2011- 21. “The actual number is believed to be higher because not all blasphemy cases get reported in the press,” the report had said, adding more than 70% of the cases were reported from Punjab.

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