K-P police investigate man's death following blasphemy allegation in Swat

A mob beat the man to death on Thursday night after accusing him of burning pages of the Quran


Reuters June 21, 2024

PESHAWAR:

Authorities have begun an investigation to identify and arrest members of a mob that killed a man accused of blasphemy, after they ransacked a police station holding him in protective custody in Swat, officials said on Friday.

A mob beat the man to death on Thursday night after accusing him of burning pages of the Quran. They set the police station in the area ablaze and injured eight policemen, Malakand division's regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur told Reuters.

Read: Nation outraged at Sri Lankan’s lynching by mob

"After initially rescuing the man from a crowd, the police took him to the station in Madyan, but announcements from mosque loud speakers asked locals to come out," Gandapur said, after which the mob stormed the station.

Legal processes are frequently preceded by vigilante action based on rumours or complaints and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a report on Pakistan in December that in many cases the perpetrators operate with impunity.

Graphic videos of the latest incident showed a frenzied mob dragging a naked and bloodied body through the streets, and then setting it on fire. The footage went viral on social media and sparked outcry amongst Pakistani users.

Read: Of mob violence and religious lynching

Gandapur said the situation was under control and a case registered against the organisers of the mob. He added the man had been visiting Swat, which is a popular tourist destination, for Eid ul Adha.

Last month, a Christian man in his seventies was attacked by a mob on charges of burning pages of the Quran and later died of his injuries in Sialkot.

In 2021, a Sri Lankan factory manager was lynched in one of the highest profile incidents in the country. Six people were sentenced to death for their part in the lynching after the incident sparked global outcry.

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