Pakistan cops nab dozens who lynched Muslim man

ISLAMABAD, 13 Feb 2023:

Pakistani police have arrested 60 suspects involved in the lynching of a man over alleged blasphemy, an official said today.

A mob stormed into a police station in Pakistan’s eastern Nankana Sahib city and allegedly killed a Muslim man who was in custody over blasphemy on Saturday.

Police said the victim was accused of desecrating the Quran in the name of witchcraft.

Police spokesperson Muhammed Waqas said the suspects were arrested in a widespread crackdown. “Over two days, around 60 suspects have been arrested after identifying them from video clips.”

He said police collected over 900 video clips of the incident, showing how the mob broke into the police station and beat the victim Waris Ali.

“Two cases have been registered, one against the people involved in the incident and second having blasphemy clauses against the man who got killed,” Waqas said.

He said the mob first took him outside his house into narrow streets where police vehicles could not enter.

A police team riding bikes was able to get control of them and take the man into custody at Warburton police station.

A mob of around 1,000 people snatched the victim from the cops at the police station and lynched him.

Incidents of mob lynching are common in the Muslim-majority country of 220 million people.

In February last year, a man was stoned to death over the alleged desecration of the Quran in a remote village of Khanewal district in south Punjab.

A Sri Lankan Christian man was lynched by factory workers in 2021 on blasphemy charges.

According to a report by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, 89 citizens were killed in 1,415 accusations and cases of blasphemy in the country since independence.

The January 2022 report said that from 1947 to 2021, 18 women and 71 men were extra-judicially killed over blasphemy accusations.

Blasphemy allegations were made against 107 women and 1,308 men during that time.