FAISALABAD, July 5: A man of Chak Jhumra was stoned to death on Friday by villagers on the call of a local Pesh Imam who had issued a decree (Fatwa) against the man accusing him of blasphemy.

Zahid Shah, 40, of Chak 103 JB (Barnala), about 26km from here, was booked under Section 295-B of the Blasphemy Act by Chak Jhumra police in Sept 1994 on the complaint of Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, Imam of the village mosque, for desecrating the Holy Quran and using objectionable words against the holy Prophet.

The accused was arrested and jailed. But in 1997, he was granted bail by a local court.

After his release he left the village and settled with his brother, Mohammad Naeem, in Madina Town (Faisalabad) while the case registered in 1994 against him was still pending with the court.

A few days ago, Zahid Shah returned to his village. He allegedly had an altercation with some of the locals on Thursday. When the matter was brought to the notice of Faqir Mohammad, he convened a “Panchayat” the same day.

After Isha prayers, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad made announcement through the mosque loudspeaker and urged people to come out of their houses and kill Zahid.

Scores of the villagers gathered outside Zahid’s house, dragged him out in the presence of his brother and wife Perveen, and beat him with iron rods and sticks.

When he fell unconscious, the mob dragged him to the main intersection of the village. In the meantime, people belonging to nearby villages had also reached there.

When he regained senses, Mauvli Faqir Mohammad asked the enraged mob to stone him. Zahid Shah sustained serious injuries during the stoning and died on the spot.

Chak Jhumra police, who reached the spot after four hours of the incident, neither arrested any of the persons who had stoned Zahid nor sent the body to hospital for autopsy.

Zahid’s relatives, who were shocked and terrified, kept themselves indoors and refused to get any case registered against any person. The police handed over the body to Naeem who took it to Faisalabad for burial.

A Chak Jhumra Police Station official said it was an “accidental incident” and did not fall in the purview of cognizable offence. He said when Zahid’s family members refused to lodge any complaint, the question of registering the case did not arise.

Zahid was the first cousin of Chaudhry Mohammad Tariq, Naib Nazim of Tehsil Council, Chak Jhumra. Zahid left behind a widow and a son, Khurram Shahzad.

When this correspondent visited the village, some witnesses said that though before stoning Naeem had begged mercy for his brother and promised that the accused would leave the village forever, the mob and the Imam had no second thoughts.

Opinion

Editorial

Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...
Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...