Police in north-western Pakistan arrested over two dozen suspects for setting a police station on fire during clashes over the custody of a man allegedly for blasphemy.
Hundreds of angry protesters clashed with the Police in the Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after they refused to hand over a man arrested for the alleged desecration of a Qur’an late Sunday.
Shafiullah Jan, a spokesperson for the Charsadda Police, on Monday said “we have arrested over two dozen suspects for burning the police station, official records and attack on policemen’’.
Jan said that the mob demanded custody of a blasphemous suspect and wanted to “burn him alive’’.
The suspect has been shifted to a safe location.
Life has returned to normality after the local administration deployed riot police and launched a crackdown on the protesters who have gone into hiding.
Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan and those accused can become the targets of extremist Muslim vigilante groups.
In some cases, they have been gunned down, burned alive or bludgeoned to death.
The most horrific incident was the murder of a mentally challenged Pakistani U.S. citizen who was killed inside a courtroom during his trial under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws last year.
The U.S. State Department lamented the killing then, urging Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws to prevent crimes triggered by religious hatred.