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Khanewal lynching: 85 suspects arrested for lynching and killing a mentally retarded man

Punjab police have paced up raids against suspects after Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the authorities to show ‘zero tolerance’ against the vigilantes and to take action against officials ‘who failed in their duty’.

KHANEWAl/ISLAMABAD: Punjab police have arrested 85 suspects in lynching case of a mentally retarded person in Khanewal.

Khanewal lynching is reminder of Sialkot lynching, which drew large-scale condemnation from the government, opposition and general public in Pakistan.

Punjab police have paced up raids against suspects after Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the authorities to show ‘zero tolerance’ against the vigilantes and to take action against officials ‘who failed in their duty’.

Allama Tahir Ashraf, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Religious Harmony rushed to Khanewal where he publicly condemned the incident, while local police on Sunday afternoon claimed to have registered another FIR for alleged blasphemy under Section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code besides the one related to the lynching under Sections 302, 353, 186, 148, 149 of the PPC and Section 7A of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Elder brother of the deceased told media that his brother had been mentally ill for 17 to 18 years and living with another brother in Karachi. He said his brother returned to the village in Khanewal a month before the incident. He pointed out that the deceased remained hospitalised for years but he could not recover from mental illness, resultantly, his wife had got divorce and looking after her two sons and a daughter.

He said “My brother went to buy some cigarettes and did not turn up till evening and we came to learn that he had been killed on blasphemy allegations.”

He lamented that the mob had stoned his brother to death in the presence of police, and police officials did nothing except becoming silent spectators in this tragic incident.

Mohammad Ramzan, the complainant in the blasphemy case told the that police that two men, Azhar Abbas and Mukhtiar Hussain, rushed to Shah Muqeem mosque when they saw a smoke emitting from there. He said the people found an unidentified person, who was setting on fire copies of the Holy Quran.

The Tulamba police said a caller from Jungle Derawala said people have caught a man who torn some pages of Holy Quran in a mosque. A police team rushed to the spot, took the suspect into custody while hundreds of people also gathered there who stoned to death the accused.

This Khanewal lynching once again has shocked the entire nation and raises questions as to why people did not have over the suspect to police and why police kept on watching this lynching tragedy just like Sialkot lynching.

For how long the tragic incidents like this would continue to occur in Pakistan? This is a question that has dominated everyone in the country and abroad.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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