60 suspects arrested in Nankana Sahib lynching case

Published February 13, 2023
A mob forces its way into a police station in Nankana Sahib on Saturday.–screengrab from social media video
A mob forces its way into a police station in Nankana Sahib on Saturday.–screengrab from social media video

LAHORE: The Nankana Sahib police arrested 60 suspects involved in the lynching of a man outside the police station on Saturday morning.

Several police teams launched a massive crackdown at the residences, business points, and other places to round up the suspects.

Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer (RPO) Babar Sarfraz Alpa said some 17 suspects/attackers have been nominated in the FIR.

He said the police were very clear in its action against the attackers whether they were from any religious organsation or a political party.

“Raids are underway for the arrest of others,” Nankana Sahib District Police Officer (DPO) Asim Iftikhar told Dawn here on Sunday.

He said that the Warburton police lodged two first information reports, one against hundreds of suspects who attacked the police station and murdered Waris and the other for desecrating the Holy Quran.

He said that the police teams seized 923 video clips of the incident, and identified and arrested 60 of them, adding that the identification of more suspects was in process.

The forensic analysis of the clips, mostly recorded with mobile phones, was also done.

According to the DPO, an 800-strong mob attacked the police station in order to illegally detain the man accused of blasphemy.

Mr Iftikhar said there were 50 police personnel who tried to save the man, but they were outnumbered.

He said that in response to an emergency call for reinforcement, several police personnel were on the way but the mob killed the man before their arrival.

He said some 15 people arrested were members of a religious-cum-political party.

Another senior police officer who was close to the entire incident declared the 15 members principally responsible for the lynching incident.

He said that Waris, who was lynched, was recently released from jail in a blasphemy case registered in 2019.

He said the deceased was declared innocent by the court of law.

Married in 2016, Waris divorced his wife within a couple of years and was living alone in his house in the jurisdiction of Warburton police station.

According to the police source, the Warburton police had received three calls in the last several days over the purported desecration of the Holy Quran.

In the last such call, the local residents claimed they found the burnt pages of the Holy Quran and a picture of Waris’s ex-wife at the spot.

This sparked outrage among local residents, who rushed to Waris’ house and overpowered and thrashed him, according to the police officer, who added that the police responded to the emergency call and rescued him.

When the charged mob was chasing them to take him from police custody, the cops rushed him to the station.

The police immediately locked him in the bathroom of the police station as more people started gathering outside the building when the local mosques made announcements to take the law into their hands.

The police source said the situation got out of control when some members of a religious party took the lead, raised ‘religious slogans’ and provoked people to attack the police station.

The police officer also identified a strategic blunder in the design of the Warburton police station building, saying that the contractor had left a three-foot wide hole over its main entrance gate.

Some mobsters broke into the police station using the hole and opened the main door.

The official vehicle of the Warburton police station was also short of petrol at the time of the incident.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2023

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