GUJRAT: A police officer on Wednesday night murdered a detained man with an axe, later alleging that the man had committed blasphemy.
45-year-old Jhang resident Syed Tufail Haider was arrested a day earlier for wounding two people from a locality in Gujrat. According to police authorities, Tufail came to Madina Syedan in Gujrat three days ago to attend a majlis.
During interrogation, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Faraz Naveed got into a heated argument with Tufail and struck him on the neck with an axe lying in the room, a blow which resulted in immediate death.
He later accused Tufail of making derogatory remarks against companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), with other police officials saying the arrested man was mentally unsound.
“Tufail was kept in the lock-up but he continued uttering derogatory remarks and hurled abuse at policemen. He looked like a malang (wandering preacher) and seemed mentally imbalanced,” duty officer Ali Raza told AFP.
“Assistant Sub-Inspector Faraz Naveed, 36, became very angry on hearing the derogatory remarks against the companions of the Prophet and he killed the detainee with an axe in the lock up,” he added.
Police have arrested ASI Faraz Naveed and taken the axe into custody. The body of the slain man has been sent to a local hospital for a postmortem.
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of Tufail Haider's murder and has ordered a further investigation of the incident.
The latest incident comes two days after a Christian couple was burnt to death in a brick kiln in Kot Radha Kishan for allegedly desecrating pages of the Holy Quran. The woman, mother of three, was pregnant. The incident provoked condemnation from the government with the prime minister saying the government will bring to book those responsible.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in the country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence. Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
A Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during an argument with a Muslim woman.
An elderly British man with severe mental illness, sentenced to death for blasphemy in January, was shot by a prison guard last month.
Mumtaz Qadri, an elite force policeman jailed for murdering Punjab governor Salman Taseer, in a religiously-motivated attack incited the prison guard to shoot the elderly British man convicted of blasphemy, according to an internal inquiry.
Also read: A chilling episode of mob violence