An angry mob attacked the police station in Nankana Sahib. Reportedly an accused of blasphemy was killed and body burnt by the mob. Apparently police was unable to control the situation.
LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb 11. The mob stormed the police station at Warburton, Nankana Sahib, about 80 km from Lahore, and took custody of Waris Issa stripped him naked, and dragged him into the streets before beating him to death. An accused of blasphemy was lynched by a mob who stormed a police station in eastern Pakistan, media reports claimed citing the cops on Saturday, in the latest incident of religion-linked violence in the country.
Pakistan has seen a number of cases of vigilante action by mobs against people accused of blasphemy, one of the highest-profiled ones being the lynching of a Sri Lankan national, a garment factory manager, in 2021, Reuters reported.
A police officer said the mob stormed the police station at Warburton, Nankana Sahib, about 80 km from Lahore, and took custody of Waris Issa, who was arrested for alleged desecration of the holy book, stripped him naked, and dragged him into the streets before beating him to death and then attempted to set his body on fire.
Residents of the area claimed that the man — who had returned after spending two years in jail — used to practice witchcraft by pasting his ex-wife's picture on holy books, Geo News reported. Several video clips of the incident also went viral on social media.
A video, shared on social media and confirmed as authentic by the police, according to Reuters, showed a man being dragged through the streets by his legs, stripped of his clothes and being pummelled by sticks and metal rods.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered action against those involved. He also questioned why the police failed to stop the violent mob and directed the Inspector General of police in Punjab to ensure law and order in the district.
"The rule of law should be ensured. No one should be allowed to influence the law," Sharif emphasised.
Punjab IGP Usman Anwar suspended DSP Nankana Circle Nawaz Virk and SHO Warburton Feroze Bhatti from service.
On Saturday, the victim was taken into police custody after a mob attacked him for allegedly desecrating the Quran, police spokesman Muhammad Waqas told Reuters.
"Police could not resist them because a handful of officials were present in the police station," he said, adding that police reinforcements were able to stop the mob from setting the body alight, and were readying action against the crowd.
International rights groups have long criticised Pakistani authorities for not doing enough to stem lynchings over accusations of blasphemy, which have been frequent in the Muslim-majority country. Blasphemy is also a crime under Pakistani law, which can carry the death sentence.
In December 2021, a mob in Sialkot city of Punjab tortured a Sri Lankan man, who was working as a manager at a local factory, to death over blasphemy allegations. The incident drew widespread condemnation.
An anti-terrorism court in Lahore last year handed down the punishment to 88 suspects involved in Sri Lankan citizen Piryantha Kumara’s lynching case. Six of them were sentenced to death.