Last Updated: Thu Jul 05, 2012 16:17 pm (KSA) 13:17 pm (GMT)

Pakistani mob kills mentally ill man for ‘burning Quran’: police

A Pakistani mentally unstable man was beaten to death and his body set on fire in Bahawalpur by a mob of 2,000 people who claim he burned pages of the Quran. (File photo)
A Pakistani mentally unstable man was beaten to death and his body set on fire in Bahawalpur by a mob of 2,000 people who claim he burned pages of the Quran. (File photo)

A 2,000-strong Pakistani mob snatched a mentally unstable man from a police station, beat him to death and torched his body after he allegedly burned pages from a Quran, police said Thursday.

The mob ransacked the police station in a village on the outskirts of central Pakistan’s Bahawalpur city, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Multan, on Tuesday after officers refused to hand him over.

Local police station chief Ghulam Mohiuddin said Ghulam Abbas, in his early 40s, was taken into custody after people said they caught him burning pages of the Muslim holy book.

“After some time, more than 2,000 people surrounded the police station and asked the police to hand over the man to them, and upon refusal they ransacked the police station and took the accused with them,” Mohiuddin told AFP.

“The protesters also set fire to several motorcycles and vehicles parked in the police station and damaged the quarters of police officials.

“Later they took away Ghulam Abbas to a main crossing, beat him to death and set his body on fire.”

He said the accused man was mentally unstable and “was not aware of even the location of his residence”.

District police chief Ahmed Ishaq Jahangir said the mob was too much for the police to handle after some in the group incited others to take action.

“The police contingent was not sufficient there to control the situation and to save the life of the accused,” Jahangir told AFP.

Pakistan is majority Muslim and its anti-blasphemy laws make defaming Islam or the Prophet Mohammed, or desecrating the Quran, punishable by death.

Former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was shot dead in January last year by one of his police bodyguards for opposing the tough laws.

In June another mob attacked a police station north of Quetta demanding a man detained for allegedly burning a Quran, with the incident leaving one protester dead and 19 wounded.

In February, reports that Americans set fire to Qurans on an American base in neighboring Afghanistan sparked riots that killed at least 40 people.

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