Islamabad: Tension prevailed in northwest Pakistan after a mob set on fire a police station and four police posts overnight after officers refused to hand over a mentally unstable person accused of desecrating the Quran, the holy book of Islam.
A local police officer, speaking on the incident, confirmed that no officer was injured in the attacks in Charsadda, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. As a result, troops were called to restore law and order.
Police moved the detainee to another district after officers foiled the mob’s attempt to lynch him. The local police officer did not reveal the name of the suspect, saying officers were still investigating and the man was held a day ago.
Khan claimed officers resisted initially but fled following the attack on police buildings by thousands of protesters. According to him, police avoided using force against demonstrators to prevent casualties.
KP Law Minister Fazal Shakoor, who is from Charsadda, told Dawn.com that the mob vandalized vehicles parked at the police station too.
“The government will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands,” he said, adding: “The suspect who has been arrested will be proceeded against in accordance with the law.”
In Pakistan, blasphemy is punishable by death, and mere accusations can ignite mob violence. According to international and domestic rights groups, accusations of blasphemy are frequently used to intimidate minorities and settle personal scores.
Students at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, Pakistan, assaulted and killed another student Mohammad Mashal in 2017 for allegedly sharing blasphemous content on Facebook.