Mentally-ill Man Stoned to Death For Burning The Quran in Pakistan

A man was stoned to death in a remote village in eastern Pakistan for allegedly desecrating the Koran, police have said. 

The custodian of local mosque said he saw Mushtaq Ahmed, 41, burning the Muslim holy book inside the mosque on Saturday evening and informed the police.

The subsequent violence took place in a village in the district of Khanewal in Punjab province.

Police have detained 36 men living near to the mosque in relation to the incident, but have said they suspect around 300 people took part.

According to witnesses, officers from Tulamba police station were rushed to the mosque and took custody of a man, but the angry crowd snatched him away from them and beat police as they tried to rescue him.

Officers tried to take his body from the scene, but the crowd began throwing stones at them, causing three of them to sustain injuries.

More officers arrived at the scene later to remove the body.

Mian Mohammad Ramzan, the mosque custodian, said he saw smoke inside the mosque and rushed to investigate. He found one Koran burned and saw a man attempting to set a second alight.

He said people were arriving for evening prayers at the time while he shouted at the man to stop.

Munawar Gujjar, Police Chief of the area said: ‘The ill-fated man has been mentally unstable for the last 15 years and according to his family often went missing from home for days begging and eating whatever he could find.’

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he is seeking a report from Punjab’s Chief Minister on the police handling of the case, claiming they ‘failed in their duty.’

‘We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands and mob lynching will be dealt with with the full severity of the law,’ he said in a tweet hours after the incident.

He has also requested a report on the actions taken against the perpetrators.

The death comes months after the lynching of a Sri Lankan manager of a sporting goods factory in Sialkot in Punjab province after being accused on blasphemy by workers.

The incident happened on December 3.

Mob attacks on people accused of blasphemy are common in the area, and is punishable by death in Pakistan.

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