Six more major suspects in the lynching of a man suspected of blasphemy in Khanewal were arrested by Punjab police on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the incident and requested a report from the provincial police on the action taken against the culprits.
The number of principal suspects in prison has climbed to 21, while a total of 102 people have been detained and are being investigated for their alleged involvement in the crime, according to a Punjab police spokeswoman.
The middle-aged man was stoned to death by a crowd over alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Khanewal district’s Tulamba on Saturday, bringing back memories of Sri Lankan native Priyantha Kumara’s lynching in December.
The victim protested his innocence, but the villagers bound him to a tree and then smashed him with bricks until he died.
According to a police spokesperson, the six main suspects arrested on Monday “may be seen [in a video] instigating the mob as well as torturing the victim with bricks and sticks.”
In the first information report, the prime suspects were charged with terrorism and terrible crimes, he said (FIR).
“With the use of accessible footage and evidence, more individuals are being identified and arrested,” the official stated.
According to the statement, police teams conducted raids throughout the previous night while a secret operation was also ongoing.
Political leaders have condemned the incident, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau writing on Sunday, “We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands, and mob lynchings will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”
Separately, Special Representative to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi claimed in a press conference yesterday that the victim was not mentally sound and had been suffering from a mental disease for roughly 15 years.
He had also urged the chief justice to expedite the trial of blasphemy cases.
On the complaint of police officer Munawwar Hussain, a copy of the incident’s FIR was filed at Tulamba police station under Sections 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly of people), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 302 (intentional murder), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the
According to the FIR, when police officers arrived in the area, they discovered a man accused of burning the Holy Quran tied up with ropes and being beaten up by a big throng.
According to the FIR, the police attempted to appease the mob but were unsuccessful, and the guy was eventually killed after being beaten with rods, sticks, and bricks by the 33 identified suspects and roughly 200-300 others.
The body was discovered after considerable effort and taken for a postmortem examination, according to the FIR. “The suspects hung his body from a tree, which spread enormous terror,” the FIR added.
According to the FIR, the accused also assaulted police personnel, resulting in one sub-inspector being injured and requiring medical care.
Following that, Chief Minister Buzdar issued directions stating that all legal criteria must be met and that no one would be permitted to take the law into their own hands.