Muhammad Waris was taken from Warburton police station, stripped naked and beaten. According to the investigating officers, the crowd of fans numbered at least 800 people. Human rights defenders are calling for the government to act decisively against lynchings.
Nankana Sahib () – A mob of fanatics lynched a man in police custody in Warburton, in the Nankana Sahib district (eastern Punjab province). He had been accused of blasphemy for alleged insults to the Koran. Muhammad Waris was taken outside the police station, dragged naked through the street and beaten to death with wooden and metal bars. In some videos that went viral on social networks, some people are also seen trying to set the corpse on fire.
The officers who were on duty were suspended for having left the police station during the attack by the crowd (some 800 people according to some statements) and the prime minister ordered an investigation.
However, human rights defenders affirm that these measures are insufficient: “The government has not devised strategies to solve these problems and act in emergency situations such as the recent lynching,” said Naveed Walter, president of the organization Human Rights Focus. Pakistan.
“Within a few days, the measures that the authorities have taken will have no value,” Walter continued, adding that he had appealed to the Supreme Court to proceed with an action not to judge the individual lynching case, but to establish a long-term strategy and a permanent solution. “Blasphemy cases are sensitive and the security of all accused should be strengthened. No government has taken serious steps to prevent lynchings. Conversely, in other cases the police have also allowed angry mobs to do these kinds of things. But only the courts have the right to decide who is guilty. The inability to stop violations of the rule of law becomes a support for the fans.”
Muhammad Waris had already been charged with blasphemy in 2019 and had just been released after being found not guilty by the court.
Other activists and organizations also condemned the lynching. The Pakistan Human Rights Commission stressed that “the weak measures implemented so far give the idea of a powerless state, not an entity that protects the lives and property of citizens.”
Nankana Sahib police said they had so far arrested 60 people suspected of involvement in the lynching, after seizing and analyzing more than 900 videos of the incident. The local police chief said that around 50 officers tried to rescue Muhammad Waris but were outnumbered, and reinforcements arrived after the man was already dead.
Consulted by , Samson Salamat, president of Readari Tehreek, an interfaith movement against extremism, said that “the lynching of another accused of blasphemy is further proof of the failure of the state apparatus to maintain control of the situation when public reactions are verified. on charges of blasphemy. Pakistan is showing the fruits of the seed of religious intolerance, which has been able to take root thanks to years of distorted curricula in religious seminaries, the impunity granted to extremist groups, and religious propaganda fostered by blasphemy laws.”