Thursday. 09.02.2023
MUSLIM EXTREMISTS

Scores arrested in Pakistan after blasphemy vigilantes lynch foreigner

Co-workers at a sportswear company and members of the public tortured and killed a Sri Lankan employee over allegations of blasphemy

FILED - Activists of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sunni Deobandi political party protest in this file shot from Noivember 2, 2018, against the acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi who was accused of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and received a sentence of death by hanging in 2010. Photo: -/PPI via ZUMA Wire/dpa.
Activists of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sunni Deobandi political party protest in this file shot from November 2018, against the acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi who was accused of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and received a sentence of death by hanging in 2010. Photo: PPI/dpa.

Police in eastern Pakistan have arrested 110 people in relation to the lynching of a Sri Lankan national who was suspected of blasphemy.

“We have arrested 110 suspects including the prime suspects who were identified with the help of CCTV footage,” Khurram Shahzad, a police spokesperson, said on Saturday.

The incident took place in Sialkot, a city that produces more than half of the world's soccer balls. Co-workers at a sportswear company and members of the public tortured and killed a Sri Lankan employee over allegations of blasphemy.

Religious leaders and radical groups including Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which rose to prominence in 2017 for its support of anti-blasphemy laws, condemned the incident.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the attack had brought “shame” to the country.

“I am overseeing the investigations and let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress," he said.

'Vigilantism'

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said “such extra-judicial vigilantism cannot be condoned at any cost.”

The incident took place days after a mob set a police station on fire in the north-western province of Khyber Paktunkhwa during clashes over the custody of a man also suspected of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan and those accused can become targets of extremist Muslim vigilante groups. In some cases, they have been gunned down, burned alive or bludgeoned to death.

Scores arrested in Pakistan after blasphemy vigilantes lynch foreigner
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