Police: Mardan ‘under control’ after man killed over blasphemy claim

PESHAWAR: A day after rallygoers in Mardan beat to death a participant for allegedly making a blasphemous speech, the police said the situation in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa city is now “under control” and authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.

Iqbal Khan, a local police officer, said local cleric Nigar Alam, 40, was killed late on Saturday by demonstrators in Sawal Dher village of Mardan.

The participants of the rally, gathered to express support for the judiciary, accused Alam of blasphemy when he made a concluding prayer at the end of the event.

“Some words of his prayer were deemed blasphemous by a number of protestors, leading to torture and death at the hands of the angry mob,” said Khan.

Witnesses and Rohanzeb Khan, senior superintendent of police (SSP) for operations in Mardan, said the police deputy on duty at the rally attempted to save the man by locking him up in a nearby shop, but the mob broke through the door and attacked him.

Videos circulating on social media showed people pushing the accused man to the ground, kicking him and beating him with batons. The cleric died at the scene.

Najeeb ur-Rehman, district police office (DPO) of Mardan, confirmed the police dispersed the crowd and recovered the body, while investigations are underway and evidence is being collected from the site.

However, an official complaint has yet to be filed, and no arrests have been made.

— With AP


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