Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Police save Christian couple from 'blasphemy' mob

02 July 2015, 18:34

Lahore - Police in Pakistan saved a Christian couple from a Muslim mob who were attempting to lynch them for allegedly committing blasphemy, and later arrested a cleric for inciting the violence, a senior officer said Thursday.

The incident, which took place in the village of Makki in Punjab province on Tuesday, represents a rare successful intervention by authorities in a country where even unproven allegations of blasphemy can result in a bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Sohail Zafar Chattha, the district police chief, told AFP the illiterate Christian couple had obtained an old panaflex advertisement awning which contained the names and slogans of various colleges, which they were using as a mat to sleep on in their home.

Arabic inscriptions, allegedly from the Koran, were found among the colleges' slogans, leading one local barber as well as two clerics to accuse the couple of committing blasphemy.

"Muslims of the town gathered there and dragged the poor couple who didn't know what they had done. They were being beaten to death," Chattha wrote on Facebook.

"Police intervened in time and rescued the couple from the mob and shifted them to Lahore and handed over them to the elders of Christian community," he later told AFP.

Police have arrested one of the clerics while the other and the barber remain at large, he said. Some residents interviewed by the police said the barber may have been interested in obtaining the couple's house.

Pakistan's tough blasphemy laws, which carry the death sentence for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, are often invoked against minorities and the poor by those wishing to settle personal scores, according to rights groups.

Nadeem Anthony, a Christian human rights lawyer, hailed the police action.

"It is a positive development that the police is taking its duty seriously and protecting the accused in such cases," he said, adding he could recount three other instances where authorities had stepped in in time.

"If the state and its organs continue to perform their duties, the elements who take the law into their own hands will be discouraged," he added.

Christians, who make up around two percent of Pakistan's mostly Muslim population of 200 million, have been increasingly targeted in recent years, by both mob violence and militant attacks.

Bonded labourer Shehzad Masih and his pregnant wife Shama Bibi were beaten by a mob of 1,500 people then thrown into a lit furnace last year in a crazed reaction to rumours they had thrown pages of the Koran into the garbage.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!


Tags pakistan

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...