The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, announced Sunday that he had ordered full action be taken against a mob who lynched a mentally ill man for burning pages of the Qur’an in Khanewal district of Punjab last week.
The man was arrested for a violation of Pakistan’s strict anti-blasphemy laws, which penalize defiling a Qur’an with life imprisonment and penalize the use of derogatory language against the Prophet Muhammad with death. However, the man had reportedly been known to be mentally ill for several years, and it is unclear whether Pakistani police would press charges against him. He was in police custody when a mob of more than 80 people seized him and lynched him, later delivering his body to his family for a funeral.
Saying that his government had “zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands”, Prime Minister Khan said that mob lynchings would be prosecuted with the “full severity” of the law and ordered the Punjab Inspector-General for a full report of the prosecution efforts being made against the perpetrators.
In accordance with this order, the Punjab police announced on Twitter that 112 people suspected of involvement in the lynching had been arrested as of Tuesday, with 31 main suspects scheduled to appear in a special anti-terrorism court.