The official says up to 120 arrests and raids are continuing after the murder of a factory manager accused of blasphemy on Friday.
Several horrific videos circulating on social media showed a crowd beating the victim while chanting anti-blasphemy slogans on Friday. Other clips showed his body on fire, as well as the overturned wreckage of what was said to be his car.
Not many mobs tried to hide their identity and some took selfies in front of the burning corpse.
Police spokesman Khurram Shahzad said on Saturday that up to 120 people had been arrested, including one of the main suspects, as the raids continued.
“Police experts are investigating this case from different angles, including that some factory workers played a religious card to avenge the manager,” said Tahir Ashrafi, a religious scholar and the prime minister’s special representative to Religious Harmony, who confirmed the arrests. Some workers said the manager was “too strict,” they said.
Malik Naseem Awan, a resident and lawyer in Sialkot, a district in central Punjab province 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad, where the attack occurred, told AFP he was concerned about its impact. country image.
“I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am. It would have been different if someone had done it alone but the crowd that was there was watching silently, and no one tried to save him.”
The attack sparked outrage, with Prime Minister Imran Khan calling it a “day of shame for Pakistan”.
The horrific attack on a factory in Sialkot and the burning of a Sri Lankan manager alive is a day of shame for Pakistan. I am supervising investigations and there should be no mistake. All those responsible will be punished strictly by law. Arrests are underway
– Imran Khan (@mImranKhanPTI) December 3, 2021
A senior Pakistani official told AFP that Islamabad had been in contact with Sri Lankan diplomats about the incident and “I assured them that all those involved in the heinous crime will be brought to justice.”
Few issues get as excited in Pakistan as blasphemy, and even the slightest hint of insult to Islam could intensify protests and incite extrajudicial executions.
Rights groups say accusations of blasphemy can often be brought to settle a personal vendetta, with minorities largely targeted.