LAHORE: A 22-year-old youth, accused of burning a copy of the Holy Quran, died in police custody at Warburton police station on Sunday, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The youth, Nadeem, was detained without an FIR by the Nankana Sahib police seven days ago. Police say he was being kept in protective custody. He was later shifted to Warburton police station, 20km for Nankana Sahib.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Nankana Sahib district police officer (DPO) Ghulam Mubashar Maken said the youth fell severely ill while in custody at Warburton police station and subsequently died.
He said allegations against Nadeem had not been substantiated so far. He added that they were informed by a local committee of Ulema that there was no proof so far to suggest the youth had burned the Holy Quran copy. Since they had been waiting for the committee’s final decision, no case was registered against the youth, DPO Maken said.
Meanwhile, police have handed over Nadeem’s body to his heirs and initiated proceedings under section 174.
DPO Maken said Nadeem’s father Yousaf had told the police that his son was mentally unstable. He added that even after his son’s death, Yousaf was unwilling to take legal action.
Police officials also suggested that Nadeem was tortured by local resident when they allegedly discovered him burning a copy of the Holy Quran. They also suspect he may have been an addict.
Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges, also belongs to Nankana Sahib.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly termed Nadeem a 'Christian'. The error is regretted.