Tourist lynched and burnt by Islamist mob in Pakistan's Swat

Swat, June 21 (IANS): In yet another horrifying incident of mob lynching, a local tourist in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province's Swat district was brutally lynched to death and his body burnt to ashes in the middle of the road over accusation of blasphemy.

The incident occurred in Madyan, a beautiful hill station in Swat, which gets flooded with tourists during the summer season.

The mob first brutally thrashed the alleged blasphemer, a tourist from Punjab province's Sialkot who was visiting Madyan and other areas around it.

Later, as the police authorities arrested the tourist and took him into custody, the mob took matters into their own hands, torching the Madyan police station, dragging the tourist's body outside and setting it on fire right in the middle of the road.

The incident occurred after some individuals announced in a market that a man had committed blasphemy.

The accused was apprehended by some people and handed over to police. But shortly afterward, announcements were made in the local mosques, calling on people to come out and punish the alleged blasphemer.

"Announcements were heard from mosques, calling on people to come out and reach the Madyan police station," said a local resident of Madyan.

"The mob asked police to hand over the suspect to them but it was refused. Protesters forced their way into the police station. Police tried to disperse the crowd and shot some rounds of fire, which injured about eight people but could not stop the mob," an eyewitness stated.

"People then set fire to the police station and a police vehicle, while the accused was burnt alive," confirmed Swat District Police Officer (DPO) Zahidullah.

While an investigation has been initiated to ascertain the facts of the incident, this is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in Pakistan.

Recently, a man from a minority community was killed in Punjab's Sargodha city on similar allegations. The tragic incident in Jaranwala where a Muslim mob torched dozens of Churches, houses and even graveyard of Christian minorities over alleged blasphemy accusations, still haunts and exposes the dangerous situation of religious polarisation that persists in Pakistan and is a ticking bomb ready to explode.

Last month, a mob protested and attacked multiple houses, broke windows, and set household belongings on fire in Punjab’s Sargodha over allegations of Quran desecration. A week later, a Christian man, who was severely injured in the attack, died at a hospital in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan faces massive challenges in terms of curbing religious extremism. In a recent report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), religious minorities in Pakistan and the state of religious freedom in the country are fast deteriorating.



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Title: Tourist lynched and burnt by Islamist mob in Pakistan's Swat

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