On Wednesday (March 24), a Shia cleric was brutally murdered over allegations of blasphemy in the Jhang district of Punjab in Pakistan.
As per reports, the Shia religious scholar has been identified as one Taqi Shah. He had gone to a local festival (mela) along with his friend Hasnain Shah in Basti Murad in Shorkot Tehsil. The duo was attacked by an unnamed Islamist, who was armed with an axe. Taqi Shah was on a motorcycle when the accused assaulted him. He fell on the road from his bike, following which Shah was slaughtered with the axe.
The video of the gruesome killing has gone viral on social media. The accused, dressed in white, can be seen hitting the victim with the axe. The motorcycle is seen lying around the deceased’s body. After the barbaric crime, the Islamist fled the crime scene. On receiving information, the police reached the spot and transferred the deceased’s body to a nearby hospital for post-mortem
Primary accused arrested, sent to judicial custody
During the incident, the victim’s friend Hasnain remained safe and is now a key witness in the murder case. A case of murder was registered against 3 people at Shorkot City police station, following a complaint by the victim’s family. The police had so far booked 2 unidentified men and one identified man for the crime. On Wednesday evening, the cops nabbed one accused and produced him before a magistrate. He has been remanded to 14-day judicial custody.
Complainant alleges murder over a personal dispute
According to the complainant, Taqi Shah was killed over a personal dispute with the main accused. Reportedly, the victim and the accused had a heated argument while playing volleyball, a few days prior to the incident. Although the matter was resolved, the accused held grudge against the victim and killed him with his axe on Wednesday. It must be pointed out that a case of blasphemy was also registered against the Shia religious scholar in September 2019 and the accused confessed that he killed Shah due to blasphemy.
Accused confesses to killing victim over blasphemy allegations
While speaking about the matter, Jhang District Police Officer (DPO) Sarfraz Virk informed that the accused had killed Taqi Shah over allegations of blasphemy. He said that the victim was accused of insulting companions of prophet Muhammad. “The suspect in his statement confessed to having killed the victim, Taqi Shah, over blasphemy allegations,” Virk added. As per the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, around 80 people are serving life imprisonment or facing the death penalty in Pakistan over blasphemy charges.
Islamists in Pakistan try to lynch a man alleging blasphemy
Earlier this month, an Islamist mob in Pakistan’s Karachi tried to lynch a man to death after he had allegedly desecrated a copy of the Quran. The angry mob attacked the man on the charges of blasphemy despite the presence of police officials.
According to the South Asia Media Research Institute (SAMRI), the Islamist mob thronged near a garments factory in Karachi and dragged a man to lynch him for allegedly desecrating the copy of the Quran. However, the man has denied the charges, and said that he had questioned maulanas for taking money promising to solve problems, but not doing anything after that.
A video of the incident at JB Garments has gone viral on the internet, in which one can see how a violent mob stormed the gates of the factory to carry out an attack. Amidst the chants of “Naara-e-Takbeer”, the Islamist mob attacked the man. However. the man survived the attack, although he was critically injured.