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Tourist killed by mob for allegedly desecrating Quran in Pakistan's tourist town

The incident happened on Thursday night when Muhammad Ismail, a 40-year-old resident of Sialkot in Punjab province, was visiting the northwestern Pakistan hill resort town of Swat and was accused of having burnt the pages of Islam's holy book in Madyan tehsil of Swat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 19:22 IST

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Peshawar: An enraged mob in the picturesque Pakistani town of Swat has gunned down a tourist, dragged him through the town and later hanged him in full public view for allegedly committing desecration of the Quran.

The incident happened on Thursday night when Muhammad Ismail, a 40-year-old resident of Sialkot in Punjab province, was visiting the northwestern Pakistan hill resort town of Swat and was accused of having burnt the pages of Islam's holy book in Madyan tehsil of Swat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

District Police Officer (DPO), Swat, Zahidullah said that initially the police had taken Ismail in custody and locked him up in the police station when the alleged desecration incident was reported.

However, the incident was announced from mosques through loudspeakers in the market, prompting thousands of people to gather outside the police station.

Soon after, the angry mob demanded that the police hand over the suspect to them. On refusal, a fierce exchange of fire took place between the local people and the police in which eight persons were injured, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

After that the mob torched the police station, forcing the cops on duty to flee for their lives.

"After that, the people entered the police station and shot and killed the suspect and dragged his body to the Madyan Ada, where they hanged him. The people also set the police station and police vehicles on fire, while the policemen on duty fled. Meanwhile, more police force was called to control the mob," the officer was quoted as saying.

According to the police officials, the incident has caused a law and order situation in the hill town. More police force was called to restore order in the popular tourist destination.

Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Ali Amin Gandapur has sought a report from the provincial police chief.

He has directed the Inspector General of Police to take emergency steps to control the situation and urged people to remain calm.

Meanwhile, police on Friday registered an FIR against the mob.

Police also said that Ismail's family has publicly disassociated themselves from him and his alleged actions. Ismail was staying alone at a hotel in Swat Valley’s Madyan town since June 18.

A video statement of the man's mother, obtained by the police, said that the family had distanced themselves from him. She stated that her son had lived in Malaysia for a significant part of his life.

"His father died 30 years ago. He was in Malaysia. When he came back, the family got him married. He kept fighting with us and then left one and a half years ago," she said in the video shared by the police.

In the video, she is also heard saying, "We are Ahle Sunnat. We are Muslim. We do no wrongdoing. We have nothing to do with him. What he did or not, his relationship with us ended." The Swat police also obtained a copy of a complaint registered against Ismail in July 2022 at a Sialkot police station. The complaint filed by the mother alleged that her son assaulted her and his brother with an iron rod and a pistol butt. It also mentioned that he was a drug addict and had issued threats to family members.

The family also provided the police with a newspaper clipping containing an advertisement where the mother publicly disassociated herself from her son.

According to the police, the accused had divorced his wife. Items found in his hotel room were deemed blasphemous by the authorities.

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Published 21 June 2024, 19:22 IST

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