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Pakistan SHOCKER: Teenage boy kills 55-year-old man over alleged blasphemy, second case in four days

A day after Pakistan's defence minister said no minorities were safe in the country, the man from the Shia minority community was stabbed to death by a teenager. This came two days after an enraged mob killed a man in full public view over allegations of Quran desecration.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: June 24, 2024 18:08 IST
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Islamabad: In a second case of blasphemy-related murder that shows a grim picture of Pakistan, a teenage boy stabbed a 55-year-old man for allegedly speaking against the companions of Prophet Muhammad in Pakistan's Punjab province, according to police on Monday. This marks the second such case in four days and third within a month.

The incident occurred on Sunday in Kunjah, Gujrat, approximately 170 km from Lahore. A senior police official told news agency PTI that the minor student stabbed Nazir Hussain Shah, a member of the Shia minority community, after being incited by father and uncle's remarks. The boy's father and uncle told him that Nazir would often speak against the companions of the Prophet.

"Getting motivated by the words of his father and uncle, the enraged teenager took a knife from his house and confronted Shah on Sunday afternoon, stabbing him multiple times and killing him on the spot. The boy then fled the scene," the police officer said, adding that a team has been formed to arrest the boy. A case has been registered against the father and uncle under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Recent cases of blasphemy-related murder

The incident took place just two days after an enraged mob in the picturesque Pakistani town of Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Thursday gunned down a tourist, dragged him through the town and later hanged him in full public view for allegedly committing desecration of the Quran. The 40-year-old victim, Muhammad Ismail, was accused of having burnt the pages of Islam's holy book.

Some individuals in a local market announced that a man had committed blasphemy after which a crowd of people nabbed the man and handed him over to the police. The suspect was taken into custody and brought to Madyan police station. An enraged mob gathered outside the police station and demanded that he be handed over. After the police refused to do so, the mob opened fire and the police retaliated. The mob then set the police station and a vehicle on fire.

The latest incident of mob violence nearly a month after a mob led by radical Islamists unleashed an attack on Christians in Pakistan's Punjab province over the allegations of desecration of the Quran that left at least two members from the minority community injured, one of them seriously. Later, he succumbed to his injuries. 

Pakistan passes resolution on mob lynchings

The National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's parliament, passed a resolution on Sunday condemning the recent incidents of mob lynching amid surprise opposition by lawmakers from incarcerated former PM Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after widespread criticism over the incidents.

"This House takes serious notice of the recent mob lynching of our citizens accused of offences in Swat and Sargodha. It is noted that such incidents have recently increased in different parts of the country," it said, urging the federal and provincial governments "to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, including religious minorities and other vulnerable segments of society".

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khwaja Asif on Sunday admitted that the country had failed to protect its minorities and that they are facing targeted violence in the name of religion. "Minorities are being murdered daily ….. no religious minority is safe in Pakistan. Even the smaller sects of the Muslims are not safe," he said. The minister further said that many victims were targeted with blasphemy allegations due to personal vendettas. 

Blasphemy in Pakistan

Notably, domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and to settle personal scores. Many religious minorities in Pakistan, including Christians and Hindus, have been frequently subjected to blasphemy allegations and have been tried and sentenced under the country's strict blasphemy law. Accusations of blasphemy provoke people into taking matters into their own hands and embolden 'mob justice' which has claimed several lives.

At least 2,120 people are reported to have been accused of committing blasphemy between 1987 and 2022, as per Dawn. The 2023 report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom noted that Pakistan's religious freedom conditions had continued to deteriorate since last year. "Religious minorities were subject to frequent attacks and threats, including accusations of blasphemy, targeted killings, lynchings, mob violence, forced conversions, sexual violence against women and girls, and desecration of houses of worship and cemeteries," it said.

(with inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ | Pakistan: 23 arrested for lynching, hanging man in public on allegations of Quran desecration



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