A 35-year-old Pakistani man was snatched away and lynched to death “People entered by using a ladder and then broke the main gate. They also took away the accused by force and killed him.”

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

A 35-year-old Pakistani man was snatched away from police custody and lynched to death by a mob on Saturday after being accused of blasphemy in Nankana Sahib district of Punjab province, confirmed a police spokesperson while speaking to Arab News.
Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan and carries the death penalty. International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.
The incident in Nankana Sahib, which drew the condemnation of religious scholars, happened nearly a year after a Sri Lankan factory manager was tortured to death in Sialkot after some of his subordinate workers leveled a similar allegation against him.
The lynching in Sialkot was also denounced by the country’s national and religious leaders and caused serious diplomatic embarrassment to Pakistan.
“A mob attacked the Warburton Police Station at about 8am,” Waqas Khalid, a public relations officer of Nankana Sahib police, told Arab News over the phone. “People entered by using a ladder and then broke the main gate. They also took away the accused by force and killed him.”
Khalid said the man named Waris Ali belonged to the Muslim community who had been taken into custody after being accused of performing magic over the pages of Holy Quran and a picture of his ex-wife to prevent her marriage.
“The news of the incident spread quickly among local residents,” he added, “before hundreds of them gathered around the police station and launched the attack.”
He said the police only managed to get back the body of the man after a backup force arrived.
“The police prevented them from burning the body and also took the family of the deceased in protection for their safety,” he continued. “The police also engaged local religious leaders and other public figures to pacify the situation.”
Khalid said that action would be taken against all those who broke into the police facility and killed the accused.
Meanwhile, the province’s police chief, Dr. Usman Anwar, decided to suspend Nankana Sahib Circle deputy superintendent police Nawaz Waraq and Warburton’s station house officer Feroz Bhatti.
A statement issued by the office of the inspector general police directed the officials of Internal Accountability Branch to reach the crime scene and submit their inquiry report.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also took notice of the extrajudicial killing and ordered an impartial investigation.
“Why didn’t the police stop the violent mob,” he was quoted as saying by a statement released by his office. “The rule of law must be ensured. No one should be allowed to influence the law.”
Pakistan Ulema Council chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi condemned the incident, calling it “a very cruel and criminal act.”
“It is the responsibility of the Punjab government to take immediate action against the mob which must be arrested and tried in an anti-terrorism court,” he added.