World Media

Pakistan factory torched after Quran-burning report

Pakistani residents torch a factory after one of its employees was accused of committing blasphemy in Jehlum

Police official Munawwar Hussain says a mob torched the buildings in the Punjab province Saturday night, accusing a local Ahmadi of burning a copy of the Quran.

The mob was enraged after a report surfaced that an employee of the factory allegedly desecrated the Holy Quran, reported Dawn.

"Senior police officer in Jhelum, Adnan Malik said:" The incident occurred after police arrested the security head of the factory, Qamar Ahmed Tahir, for complaints that he had ordered the burning of holy Quran".

Spokesman of the Ahmadi community in Punjab, Aamir Mahmood, told PTI that around 2,000 people gathered outside the factory after announcements were made on loudspeakers in nearby mosques that a factory employee had allegedly desecrated the Quran.

According to Express Tribune, many workers ran away from the factory complex which contained a residential area, with their families.

The place of worship was located in the Kala Gujran area of Jhelum and was under police security when the mob managed to break through the cordon and set the establishment on fire.

Police reached the spot and dispersed the mob on assurance that it had registered a case against the employee identified as Tahir, also an Ahmadi, and arrested him.

The mob then moved to the Grand Trunk Road, blocked traffic and chanted slogans against the police.

Four other men who were previously arrested on suspicion of blasphemy were reportedly released by the police, DawnNews reported.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, an Islamic republic of a few 200 million, where even unproven allegations frequently stir mob violence and lynchings.

A mob yesterday torched a place of worship of Pakistan's minority Ahmadi community after a member of the community was accused of blasphemy, prompting deployment of the army to control the situation.

District police chief Mujahid Afsar said authorities were trying to negotiate between the communities, but Din said that the atmosphere was still violent.

Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974 due to their belief in a prophet after Muhammad (PBUH).

The Ahmadi face growing intolerance in Pakistan, with 11 members of the group killed during 2014, according to a report.