Religious scholar killed over blasphemy allegations

A religious scholar was axed to death by an assailant over allegations of blasphemy in Punjab’s Jhang district, a local news outlet reported on Friday.

The incident took place during a festival in Basti Murad of Shorkot tehsil on Wednesday wherein the victim, Taqi Shah, had been roaming around with a friend, Hasnain Shah, when they were approached by a man who attacked them.

The scholar and his friend had been on a motorbike, while the attacker was on foot. As he cut them off, the two friends fell forward onto the road, and the assailant used the opportunity to axe Taqi to death.

Police then reached the spot after the suspect had already fled the scene and shifted the body to a nearby hospital for post-mortem examination.

Police have registered a murder case against three suspects – one identified man and two unidentified persons – at Shorkot City police station on the complaint of a family member of the deceased.

The complainant alleged that the victim was killed by the primary suspect after developing a dispute with him “while playing volleyball”.

According to Investigation Officer Tariq Mehmood, the suspect was arrested the day of the incident and sent on a 14-day judicial remand.

Mehmood maintained that the reason behind the killing was not the grudge between the suspect and Taqi over their volleyball dispute. He stated that their argument had been resolved previously, but the killer held a grudge against the scholar.

On the other hand, Jhang District Police Officer (DPO) Sarfraz Virk stated that the suspect had killed the man after accusing him of committing blasphemy against companions of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

“The suspect in his statement confessed to have killed the victim, Taqi Shah, over blasphemy allegations,” the DPO said, adding that blasphemy case against the victim had been registered in 2019.

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