Pakistan: Mob lynches Sri Lankan man over allegations of blasphemy, burn his body in public

Mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot district on Friday lynched a Sri Lankan national and burned his body, AP reported. The man had allegedly blasphemed the posters with the name of Prophet Muhammad.

Nearly 50 people have been arrested so far, according to Special representative for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi. The Pakistan police are identifying more people based on the CCTV footage of the lynching, Dawn reported.

Several videos have been circulating on social media, which show the mob dragging the Sri Lankan man’s bruised body to the street from a sports equipment factory, where he used to work as a manager and set his body on fire as hundreds of people cheer.

The police said they got to know about the incident at 11.26 am, after which they reached the spot in 20 minutes.

“We are probing the facts and also looking at the police response, whether there was any sort of delay. The incident was sensitive and unfortunate,” said Punjab Inspector General Rao Sardar Ali Khan, according to Dawn.

As per reports by AP, the police further said they were trying to determine what prompted the mob to kill the Sri Lankan national. Meanwhile, his body has been sent to the hospital for an autopsy examination.

Pakistan’s Punjab province Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said he has directed the inspector general to thoroughly investigate the incident.

In a tweet, he said, “No one is allowed to take [the] law in their hands. Rest assured, individuals involved in this inhumane act will not be spared!!”

The incident has been condemned by several Pakistani leaders.

Islamic Cleric Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said the public lynching had “defaced Islam”. “The elements involved in the incident have tried to damage Islamic laws and teachings. The culprits will be punished for the barbarism,” Dawn reported.

Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari called the murder “horrific and condemnable”.

Taking it to Twitter, she said, “Mob violence cannot be accepted under any circumstance as [the] state has laws to deal with all offenses. Punjab government’s action must and will be firm and unambiguous.”

According to AP, blasphemy or the act of speaking profanely about God or sacred things is punishable by death in Pakistan.

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