Pakistani police foil mob tries to lynch suspect blasphemy

Islamabad (AP) — Pakistani police said Tuesday that they had blocked an attempt by a mob to lynch a blasphemy suspect who was recently arrested for insulting Islam.

According to local police chief Asim Gaffer, the mob attacked the Gora police station on the outskirts of Islamabad on Monday night. Police refused to hand over the suspect to the outside crowd.

The suspect, Shawkat Ali, was unharmed and six police officers were slightly injured in the attack, Gaffer said. Aali has been accused of sharing anti-Islamic content on social media.

Blasphemy imposes the death penalty in Pakistan. In this country, blasphemous allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and establish personal scores, according to rights groups.

Governor of Punjab, Islamabad, was shot dead by his own guards in 2011 after defending Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. She was acquitted after spending eight years on death row and was threatened before leaving Pakistan to join her family in Canada.

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