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Photo supplied by CSW
THUMBScreenshot 2024-06-22 165937.png
Photo supplied by CSW
World News

CSW speaks out after tourist lynched following blasphemy accusations in Pakistan

by Lydia Davies

A Christian charity advocating for freedom of religion has spoken out after a mob violently lynched a man who they accused of desecrating the Qur’an in the Madyan area of the Swat Valley in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The identity of the victim, a tourist from Sialkot in Punjab Province, has not been disclosed.

According to police officials, the man was initially apprehended and handed over to the authorities. However, shortly after the accusations were broadcast over mosque loudspeakers, a mob quickly assembled outside the local police station.

When the police refused to hand the accused over to them, members of the mob stormed the station, seizing the man and setting fire to the police station and a police vehicle. The victim was then shot and killed, and his body was set on fire.

Swat District police officer Dr Zahidullah Khan reported that eight people were injured in the unrest. In response, a heavy police force was deployed to contain the situation.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws remain highly controversial and are often misused to settle personal vendettas or target minority communities.

On 25th May, 73-year-old Christian businessman Lazar Masih was violently attacked and hospitalised after being accused of burning pages of the Qur’an in Mujahid Colony, Sargodha District, Punjab Province.

Masih succumbed to his injuries in the Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi on 3rd June.

Mervyn Thomas, Founder President of CSW, expressed his deep sorrow over the recent incident. He said in a statement: “Our hearts are heavy with the news of yet another extra-judicial killing following an accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the victim and call on the police to ensure that all those responsible for his murder are brought to justice.

“Pakistan must do far more to prevent such horrific acts of violence, including by ending any impunity that surrounds those who take the law into their own hands, and repealing the blasphemy laws which are incompatible with the country’s commitments to freedom of religion or belief.”

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