Home Latest News Mob in Swat Lynches Man over Alleged Blasphemy

Mob in Swat Lynches Man over Alleged Blasphemy

Police say victim was taken into protective custody but mob broke into police station and dragged him out, killing him and setting his body on fire

by Staff Report

File Photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

An enraged mob in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat district on Thursday night lynched a man over alleged desecration of the holy Quran, according to police and locals.

In a statement, Swat District Police Officer (DPO) Zahidullah Khan said eight police officers were injured in the unrest, which also saw the local police station set on fire. He said authorities had detained the victim at the police station in protective custody, but the mob “attacked the police station” and dragged the victim away.

“People set fire to the police station and a mobile vehicle,” he said, confirming that the victim’s body was also set on fire. He said investigations were ongoing into the incident, adding police deployment had been increased in the area in a bid to restore calm.

News of the lynching went viral on social media, with videos of the lynching and the mob encircling the burning body widely shared. Social media users also alleged the victim was a tourist from Punjab, but this could not be independently verified.

In a statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)—which rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa—claimed Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur had taken notice of the “unfortunate” incident and sought a report from the provincial police chief. He also directed the police chief to take emergency measures to control the situation and urged the people to remain peaceful.

Lynchings over blasphemy allegations—often false or aimed at fueling unrest—have become routine in Pakistan, as mobs emboldened by the blasphemy law that makes the offense punishable by death often resort to taking the law into their own hands at the mere pretext of any accusation. According to human rights groups, at least 2,120 persons were accused of blasphemy between 1987 and 2022 after Gen. Ziaul Haq enacted the blasphemy law.

Last month, police saved a Christian man from being lynched by a mob in Sargodha on allegations of desecration of the Quran. However, the victim succumbed to his injuries nine days later. Sialkot Similarly, a man was stoned to death over alleged desecration near Khanewal in 2022 and a year earlier, a Sri Lankan national was lynched by a mob over alleged blasphemy in Sialkot.

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