LAHORE: In a bloodcurdling incident in Punjab’s Nankana Sahib, a raging mob of hundreds Saturday tortured a man to death after snatching him from a police station, where he was locked up for allegedly committing blasphemy.
As the mob was lynching the man — who was put behind bars for alleged blasphemy — Station House Officer (SHO) Warburton Feroze Bhatti and other police personnel escaped the scene to save their lives. Residents of the area claimed that the man — who had returned after spending two years in jail — used to practice witchcraft by pasting his ex-wife’s picture on holy papers.
“The mob stormed the police station and beat the man to death,” local police spokesman Waqas Khalid told AFP. “After killing him they tried to set his body ablaze,” he added. Khalid said authorities were working on identifying the attackers responsible for the man’s death. Videos shared on social media showed hundreds of youngsters besieging the police compound, with one man scaling a tall gate using a ladder and opening its lock.
The crowd then barged inside and smashed windows. Taking notice of the incident, Punjab Inspector-General Dr Usman Anwar suspended the SHO and Nankana Sahib Circle Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Waraq for their failure in preventing the situation from turning violent. Strict departmental and legal action will be taken against those responsible for the incident and the perpetrators of negligence, a statement posted by the Punjab police on Twitter read.
Later, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered an investigation into the Warburton police station incident and asked why the police did not stop the violent mob. “The rule of law should be ensured. No one should be allowed to influence the law,” he said. Mohsin Naqvi, the caretaker chief minister of Punjab, has also sought a report from the IG on the incident, directing an investigation from every aspect. He ordered immediate action against the culprits.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has condemned the incident, saying killing and burning someone accused of blasphemy was a cruel act.