KASUR: A local court in Pattoki on Saturday ordered exhumation of the body of the rice cracker vendor who was allegedly tortured to death by a mob at a wedding hall on March 21 in the limits of the Pattoki City Police Station.

The medical report had mentioned no torture marks on the body of the deceased, identified as Ashraf of Jagowala, Chunian. On March 26, the brother of the deceased moved the local court, seeking permission to exhume the body of his brother and claimed that the medical report of the death was prepared to save the influential accused in the case.

On Saturday, the court of Sajid Mahmood ordered exhumation of the body and asked the medical superintendent of District Headquarters Hospital, tehsil municipal officer and police to exhume the body on April 19 at 9am.

There was outrage in the media when a video clip showed the wedding guests having a meal in the presence of the body of Ashraf who was just killed. He had gone inside a wedding hall to collect money thrown at wedding processions.

The wedding guests, as claimed by the complainant of the murder case, alleged that Ashraf was a pickpocket and held him after a wedding guest raised alarm as he had found his mobile phone missing from his pocket. The wedding guests allegedly tortured Ashraf to death on the spot. They placed his body in the hall, put a white sheet on it and started having dinner. The video of the incident went viral on social media.

Later, police took the body to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital and lodged a murder case against six unidentified guests. Police arrested 12 suspects, the close relatives of the groom and the bride.

After the medical report which went in favour of the accused, Ashraf’s brother moved a court for exhuming the body. The family members claimed that there were torture marks on the body, which they observed while bathing the body before burial.

Police suspected the veracity of the lynching, claiming that during investigation, they had found no evidence or any video clip showing any clash in the hall.

Police, nevertheless, are depending largely on the forensic report for which it had sent the samples obtained from the body on the day of the incident. The forensic report is still pending.

The report of the assistant commissioner Chunian categorically declared that Ashraf was tortured to death by the mob.

The then chief minister Usman Buzdar, in the light of the report of AC, had approved a sum of Rs500,000 as financial help to the family of Ashraf who was unmarried but was living with his brother.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2022

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