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Tourist lynched and burned alive by mob in Swat over blasphemy allegations

A tragic incident in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has sparked outrage and concern after a 36-year-old man was brutally killed and his body set on fire. The incident occurred in Madyan, a town located in the Swat district, on Thursday evening.

According to local police officials, the victim, identified as a tourist from Sialkot, Punjab, faced accusations of insulting the Quran, the holy book of Muslims. Details of the alleged offense remain unclear.

Initial reports indicate that police intervened to arrest the accused individual but faced strong opposition from a gathering crowd. Despite efforts to secure the man in custody, hundreds of people besieged the Madyan police station.

The mob eventually stormed the premises, forcibly removed the victim, and subjected him to fatal violence. Reports suggest the man was tortured before his death.

Videos circulating on social media depict a chaotic scene of chanting crowds surrounding a burning body, reflecting the intensity of emotions over perceived blasphemy.

Zahid Ullah Khan, a senior police official in Swat, confirmed the violent turn of events, mentioning that the mob also set fire to the police station and a patrol vehicle. Authorities have launched investigations into the incident, although specifics regarding arrests or formal complaints are yet to be disclosed.

In response to the tragic incident, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur denounced the killing and demanded an immediate report from police authorities.

The province, known for its conservative values, has seen similar outbreaks of violence related to blasphemy accusations in the past.

Rampant blasphemy cases

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, rooted in colonial-era legislation, have been a contentious issue, often leading to lethal mob violence. Since their inception, these laws have faced criticism for their misuse and the grave consequences they entail.

Civil rights groups in Pakistan report numerous cases where individuals accused of blasphemy have faced violence, with some incidents resulting in extrajudicial killings.

The incident in Madyan underscores the ongoing challenges in managing religious sensitivities and the rule of law in Pakistan. Despite condemnations and calls for restraint, the pervasive impact of blasphemy allegations continues to pose significant risks to social harmony and individual safety in the region.

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