An angry mob lynched a man in the Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after he was accused of blasphemy during a rally in support of the former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The incident occured on Saturday night in the Sawaldher area of Mardan where a really of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was held to express solidarity with the judiciary over directions of the ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In a viral video shared on Twitter, a violent mob of hundreds of people can be seen beating the old man with sticks and other crude weapons. The mob even dragged the victim’s lifeless body, believed to be in his 40s.
The deceased was identified as Maulana Nigar Alam son of Bacha Gul. Sources say that, while while making the final prayer, Maulana Nigar said some words that were deemed insulting and blasphemous by a majority of the protestors, leading to his lynching at the hands of the angry mob.
In another viral video, the deceased can be seen announcing before the crowd at a rally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), that he respects a local nazim (a PTI leader) like a Prophet, as he is a great and honest man.
Moreover, according to a report cited by The Friday Times, some Deobandi clerics had demanded that a case be filed against the accused on blasphemy charges. However, the alleged statement soon instigated anger among the rallygoers who rushed to mob the man to death.
Some reported that the police rushed to the scene and attempted to intervene by locking the accused in a shop, but the angry mob broke the door and continued to beat him. The body of the victim has been taken into police custody, and an investigation is underway.
Various social media reacted to the news, some disheartened by the violence while others called for an end to the ongrowing culture of ‘mob justice’ in Pakistan.
Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Azam Khan has deemed the incident as sad and unpleasant and has urged that political meetings shall only be ‘limited to political statements’ and ‘avoiding giving religious color to political matters’.
Azam Khan has asked the citizens to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and to allow the legal process to take its course. In the wake of the incident, the role of the Ulema role is crucial for maitaining peace and order, and they should be actively involved in fostering religious harmony, he continued.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time an incident of this nature has occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Recently, a chinese citizen was arrested over blasphemy charges. The accused was an working at the Dasu hydroelectric plant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kohistan District where he got into a heated argument with local labourers.
Similarly, in April 2017, a young Pashtun student named Mashal Khan was lynched to death by an angry mob in Mardan district, over allegations of blasphemy. The incident had sparked a nationwide outrage and focused attention on the problem of mob violence and blasphemy allegations.
Multiple local and International rights groups accuse that blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. However, it appears that more has to be done to address the issue despite the authorities’ assurances that they will take steps to curb such instances in the future.
(With inputs from MENAFN– Tribal News Network)