Pak policeman kills man over blasphemy allegations

4 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

LAHORE: A Pakistani policeman killed a man with a cleaver over blasphemy allegations years after the victim was acquitted of the charge by a court, police said on Saturday.

Waqas Ahmed faced trial in 2016 over a Facebook post, but was acquitted.

The policeman, Abdul Qadir, resented the verdict and attacked him with a cleaver late Friday in Rahim Yar Khan city, Punjab province.

“He... was planning to kill him since 2016 over the allegations of disrespecting Prophet Mohammed,” police official Rana Muhammad Ashraf told AFP.

Ahmed Nawaz, a police spokesman, confirmed the incident, adding the victim’s brother was also injured in the attack. “The constable voluntarily gave himself up to the police,” Nawaz said.

Both the attacker and the victims were from the same tribe and village, police said, and they were investigating if they had some personal enmity.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Pakistan where laws can carry the death penalty for anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures.

Such allegations are explosive, and often result in furious outcries across the ultra-conservative Islamic republic.

The country’s strict blasphemy laws are disproportionately used against religious minorities, including the Christian community, and critics contend they are frequently abused to settle personal scores.