Conflicts & War

Man lynched in Pakistan over alleged blasphemy

Islamabad, Dec 3 (EFE).- A man was lynched and his body set on fire on Friday in Pakistan’s northeastern city of Sialkot for allegedly committing blasphemy, officials said.

The man, of Sri Lankan origin, was identified as Priyantha Kumara and worked as an export manager at a sports equipment factory in Sialkot.

Video footage widely circulated on social media showed an irate mob dragging a corpse and later setting it on fire.

Sialkot police spokesperson Khurrum Shehzad confirmed the incident to EFE and said that according to some versions of the event, Kumara was killed for blasphemy.

The videos showed a crowd chanting slogans such as “O Prophet, we are present,” commonly used by the far-right Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party, which proclaims that “protecting the sanctity of Prophet Mohammad” is one of its key objectives.

Shehzad said that the police were interrogating people to determine the reason behind the lynching of the Sri Lankan national, who had worked in the factory for more than seven years.

He said that more than 50 people had been arrested with the help of CCTV and mobile phone footage.

According to the police, the incident took place around noon and when the police arrived in the area half an hour later, the victim had already been tortured to death and his body was on fire.

The chief minister of the Punjab province, Usman Buzdar, warned that “no one is allowed to take the law in their hands.”

“I am extremely shocked at the horrific Sialkot incident. Rest assured, individuals involved in this inhumane act will not be spared,” he tweeted.

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