Pakistani Man Set on Fire for Blasphemy
Ghulam Abbas, a mentally unstable homeless man, was brutally murdered outside a police station in the Punjab Province in Pakistan last week, for allegedly committing blasphemy by burning the pages of the Quran.
After receiving a complaint about the incident, authorities arrested Abbas and brought him to the local police station to be detained. But when a few religious leaders announced over the station’s loudspeakers that a man had committed blasphemy, a mob began gathering outside the station and demanded that Abbas be handed over. The angry crowd of more than 2,000 people subsequently broke into the station, injuring numerous police officers in the process, and dragged Abbas outside, where they proceeded to douse him with gasoline and set him on fire.
“They also torched the police vehicles in the police station,” the Deputy Superintendent of Police has been quoted as saying. “This continued for two hours. The mob stood there until the man completely burnt.”
Although Abbas’ identity was not known at the time of his arrest, authorities were able to discern that he was mentally unstable.
The incident has drawn sharp criticism of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws from several worldwide human rights groups, including Amnesty International. The laws have also been the reason for the growing number of arrests of Christians and other religious minorities in the country.