Police in Nankana Sahib have taken 60 suspects into custody over their alleged involvement in the lynching of a man outside a police station on Saturday morning.
According to police, investigators used video clips of the incident—widely available on social media—to identify and arrest the suspects. They said the process was ongoing and more suspects would be taken into custody after their identities were confirmed. Of the suspects already detained, police claim 15 are members of a religio-political party.
Overall, per police, a mob of around 800 people attacked the police station on Saturday to target blasphemy-accused Waris, who had been imprisoned on charges of desecrating the Quran. Speaking with daily Dawn, the Sheikhpura regional police officer claimed that local police had attempted to prevent the crime but as there were only 50 personnel on duty, they were vastly outnumbered and had to flee for their own lives. The RPO further claimed that additional forces had been deployed to the area as the situation deteriorated but the mob had already killed Waris before they could reach the scene.
On Saturday morning, an enraged mob swarmed the Warburton Police Station in Nankana Sahib on reports that the now-deceased Waris was in police custody. The deceased had only recently been released from jail on a separate blasphemy case after being declared innocent by the court of law. Following his release, however, locals continued to allege that he was desecrating the Quran and police were forced to take him into protective custody after a mob had attacked him in his home.
According to eyewitnesses, local mosques had called on the public to take the law into their own hands after Waris was placed in protective custody, with some members of a religious party provoking the gathered mob to attack police.
Taking notice of the incident on Saturday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had vowed that “action would be taken against police officials who failed in their duty.” He had also stressed that no one would be permitted to take the law into their hands. Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Tahir Ashrafi had likewise called on the Punjab government to take “immediate action” against the culprits involved, stressing that “no group, individual and organization has the right to take the law into their hands.”