11 February 2023

By Rehan Piracha



 A mob in Nankana Sahib district lynched a man over allegations of blasphemy after storming a police station where he was being kept in custody.
According to local reporters, the man identified as Waris, a resident of Mohalla Sundarana Town, was arrested by police after residents accused him of committing desecration of the Holy Quran. He was brought to Warburton police station but a mob later stormed the police building.
“The protesters scaled the gates of the police compound and ransacked the police station,” local reporter Abdul Ghaffar told Voicepk.net. The protesters dragged the blasphemy suspect out of the police station and lynched him on a pole around a few hundred meters from the police station. The mob then tried to set the dead body on fire but a heavy police contingent took custody of the dead body and shifted it to an undisclosed location in a police vehicle, Ghaffar said.
The videos of the lynching and ransacking of the police station shared on social media became viral.

In one video, scores of protesters can be seen scaling the gates of the Warburton Police Station, and a rowdy crowd storms the building after being opened.

In another video, young children who were part of the mob are seen smiling inside the police station with a view of broken glass and overturned furniture there.
Following the outpour of condemnation of the incident on social media, Punjab Inspector General of Police Dr. Usman Anwar suspended Nankana Sahib Circle Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Waraq and Warburton Station House Officer Feroz Bhatti for failing to prevent the mob lynching.
A statement shared on the Punjab Police website said the Punjab IGP directed the Internal Accountability Branch Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Syed Muhammad Amin Bukhari and Special Branch DIG Raja Faisal to reach the incident location and submit an inquiry report.
“No one is allowed to take the law into their hands no matter how influential they are,” the Punjab IGP was quoted as saying. “Strict departmental and legal action will be taken against those responsible for the incident, as well as the perpetrators of negligence and incompetence,” the IGP said.
Nankana police had not made any arrests or filed a first information report relating to the mob lynching till the filing of this report.

Claims of sorcery

According to residents of Sundarana Town, Waris was allegedly desecrating the pages of the Holy Book in a bid to cast spells on his divorced wife and a man said to be a relative who had fraudulently usurped his property.
Photographs shared with Voicepk.net depict photographs of a man and a woman pasted on two torn pages of the Holy Book. Residents claimed that the blasphemy suspect had previously spent two years in jail in connection with blasphemy charges. Voicepk.net could not independently verify these claims.
PM orders inquiry

In a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered an investigation into the mob lynching.
“Why didn’t the police stop the violent mob? The rule of law should be ensured. No one should be allowed to influence the law,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in the PMO statement. He said that ensuring peace and order was the first priority for the relevant institutions responsible for that duty.
Mob violence on rise in blasphemy cases: NCHR
National Commission of Human Rights also took notice of the mob lynching in Nankana Sahib. “Rise of hate & mob violence in alleged blasphemy cases is on the rise in Pakistan, the NCHR said in a tweet, sharing a video of the incident.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Rabiya Javeri said the commission sent its team to Nankana Sahib over the incident and was awaiting further details from government officials.
Ulema Council slams lynching
Separately, Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council condemned the incident, saying it was regrettable the way the charged mob attacked the blasphemy accused. “Inhuman torture and killing the person, accused of blaspheming the Holy Quran in Nankana Sahib and attacking at the police station is regrettable and condemnable. — Pakistan Ulema Council,” Ashrafi tweeted.




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