Mob violence in Pakistan kills three

Ahmadi homes torched over 'blasphemous' Facebook picture reporter, Gujranwala , Pakistan

July 28, 2014

Three people were killed and several others injured when an Islamist mob set four homes belonging to the minority Ahmadi community ablaze in Punjab province late on Sunday.

The attack took place in Gujranwala district, about 80 kms south of the provincial capital, Lahore.

The mob attacked after an Ahmadi man called Saqib was accused of posting a picture that was deemed blasphemous on social networking site Facebook.

A 55-year-old woman and two young children were killed. One of the injured, a pregnant woman, later miscarried in hospital.

Police later dispersed the crowd and brought the situation under control. “An investigation into the violence has been launched,” police spokesman Waqas Nazir said.

A local journalist told that Saqib’s mother had dismissed claims her son was behind the alleged blasphemous Facebook post.

She said someone created a fake Facebook account with her son’s name and then posted the offensive picture.

Members of the crowd later told journalists the picture was of a naked woman standing beside the Kaaba, a sacred spot in Mecca.

Blasphemy, which carries the death penalty, is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan and a mere allegation can trigger mob violence.

Last year, more than 3,000 Muslims rampaged through Joseph Colony in Lahore, torching some 100 Christian homes, over blasphemy allegations against a Christian man who was sentenced to death earlier this year.

Rights campaigners say the blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal feuds.