Sri Lankan man has been beaten to death and his body set on fire for allegedly insulting Pakistan’s Punjab province in Pakistan on Friday.
The man was a factory manager in Sialkot in the Punjab province.
Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted the incident was a “shameful day in Pakistan,” and said all those involved would be punished.
Punjab Prime Minister Usman Buzdar said he was “shocked by the horrific Sialkot incident”, and ordered an investigation.
About 50 people have been arrested so far, according to Pakistani media reports.
Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan citizen in her 40’s, worked as the factory manager in Sialkot district, about 60 miles [100 km] from Lahore.
“Mr Kumara allegedly tore up a hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) poster with verses from the Quranic and threw it in a dustbin. something in the factory, ”said a police officer.
Hundreds of men, enraged at the “blasphemy” incident, began assembling outside the factory from nearby areas. Most of them were activists and supporters of TLP.
He was severely beaten to death for his injuries. The mob also set fire to his body, before police arrived at the scene.
Many videos have been circulated on social media showing hundreds of men gathered around the body chanting TLP slogans.
“CCTV footage will be obtained to identify the perpetrators. The IG has instructed law enforcement agencies to report the results within 48 hours after which the investigation will be extended,” a spokesman for the Punjab government said.
Pakistan has strict laws against Islam, including the death penalty, and rights activists say it is often used to resolve personal conflicts in a predominantly Muslim country.
Mere allegations of blasphemy have caused a great deal of violence among a few Christians.
The Punjab governor of Islamabad was also shot dead by his bodyguard in 2011, after defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy.
Pakistan has been under pressure for the past few decades to change the country’s anti-corruption laws. However, the Islamists in the country are strongly opposed to the efforts, and have strongly won successive governments.