Police on Monday said that thousands of people as a mob came to a police station in Charsadda, setting fire to it and nearby checkpoints for dishonoring Holy Quran. They demanded that officers turn over a man allegedly accused of burning the Holy Quran.
The crowd of up to 5,000 people surrounded the police station in Charsadda town in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. They reportedly also set fire to more than 30 cars. The violence transpired on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, around 2,000 people remained outside the police station burning uniforms of officers.
Case registered against hundreds of suspects
“The mob stormed the police station asking to hand over the man to them so they could burn him alive like he burnt the Holy Quran,” district police chief, Asif Bahadur told AFP.
The identity and religion of the accused have not been disclosed by police, Bahadur said. “The motive behind burning the copy of the Holy Quran is still unknown but we are investigating.” Officials on Monday registered a case against hundreds of suspects for attacking and setting a police station on fire.
There is a large stigma associated with blasphemy in Pakistan. In fact, even unfounded claims can spark mobs and violence. Meanwhile, the rights groups claim that legislation is misused for personal vendettas, primarily targeting minorities.
The country has also been frequently paralyzed in recent years by anti-blasphemy protests waged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party. It is often linked to the publishing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) by a French satirical magazine.
It may be recalled that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman and a laborer from central Punjab province, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010. She was on death row until her acquittal in 2018, which prompted days of violent demonstrations by hardliners. Asia and her family later fled the country for Canada.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments section below.