Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
A Pakistani man, who was in police custody over allegations of blasphemy, was allegedly lynched by a mob at the Warburton Police Station in Pakistan’s Punjab.
On Saturday, 11 February, Nankana Sahib Circle Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Waraq and Warburton Station House Officer Feroz Bhatti, were suspended over the incident.
What Happened: According to videos doing the rounds on social media, a violent mob purportedly entered the Nankana Sahib police station forcefully by jumping over the large gates, and launched themselves at a man who had allegedly been accused of “desecrating the Quran.” The mob also reportedly vandalised the police station.
Police spokesperson Muhammad Waqas told Reuters, Muhammad Waris had been taken into police custody on Saturday, soon after which a mob stormed the police station, dragged Waris out of there, allegedly stripped him of his clothes, tried to immolate him, and finally beat him to death using sticks and rods.
Waqas also told Reuters:
“Police could not resist them because a handful of officials were present in the police station.”
Police Action: After suspending the senior cops for being unable to prevent the lynching, top officials also asked the Internal Accountability Branch Deputy Inspector General and the Special Branch DIG to file an inquiry report on the case.
However, despite all these actions, a First Information Report was still not registered, Dawn reported.
PM Shehbaz Reacts: The Prime Minister’s Office quoted Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif as saying, “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.”
While the ruling party’s ministers condemned the incident, opposition leaders from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf blamed the “state machinery’s collapse” for letting an incident like this take place.
However, Punjab Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi has formed a three-member committee and asked them to submit a fact-finding report on the matter within 48 hours.
Not The First Such Case: Citing a 2022 report by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Dawn reported that “as many as 89 citizens were killed in 1,415 accusations and cases of blasphemy” since 1947.