Violent Mob in Pakistan Stones Man to Death After He Was Accused of Desecrating Quran

Photo by Hassan Anwer on Unsplash

A man who was described by locals as mentally ill was brutally stoned to death by an angry mob on Sunday after he was accused of desecrating a Quran in a mosque.

Dozens of men have been arrested who are accused of being a part of the 300-person mob which seized Mushtaq Ahmed from police as he was being arrested for the alleged act, considered to be blasphemy under Pakistani law, in Khanewal in the province of Punjab.

The Associated Press reported that a mosque custodian alerted locals before telling the police after he said he saw Ahmed burning a Quran.

When police attempted to detain the man, the mob began throwing stones at them, injuring police officers and ultimately stoning Ahmed to death and hanging his body from a tree.

“The ill-fated man has been mentally unstable for the last 15 years and according to his family often went missing from home for days begging and eating whatever he could find,” a local said.

The incident was condemned by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who accused the police of having “failed in their duty.”

“We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands and mob lynching will be dealt with with the full severity of the law,” he wrote on Twitter.

The AP notes that this comes just months after the manager of a sporting goods factory in Punjab was lynched after workers accused him of blasphemy.

“Mob attacks on people accused of blasphemy are common in this conservative Islamic nation,” the outlet notes. “International and national rights groups say blasphemy accusations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.”

The Christian Post noted that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal scores. In 2008, a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was targeted by neighbors for professing her faith in Jesus Christ and was arrested and sentenced to death.

Her case gained international attention during her 10 years in prison. She was finally acquitted by the nation’s Supreme Court and released in 2018.

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