Mob violence

June 9, 2024

The victim of Sargodha mob attack succumbs to his injuries

Mob violence


n June 3, Nazir Masih, a Sargodha resident, succumbed to injuries suffered when a mob attacked him a week ago.

On May 25, an angry crowd had started gathering next to Nazir’s house in Mujahid Colony after rumours circulated that he had desecration Holy Quran.

“There were several hundred people there, including women. They dragged Nazir, who was in his seventies, out into the street and started beating him. The police came and rescued the old man and his family. It was very hard to push the violent mob back,” a Sargodha police officer said.

The mob also torched a shoe factory owned by the family. They also burnt tyres and damaged electricity installations in the area. Regional Police Officer Shariq Kamal said that the mob had also pelted the police party with stones.

The mob ignored appeals for calm. It damaged and ransacked many other houses in the Christian locality.

“Around 150 people have been arrested and sent to jail,” another police officer said. Police have also registered a blasphemy complaint against the deceased.

“The state must act against people who take the law into their own hands. The government must arrest, prosecute and penalize the culprits,” Khurshid Nadeem, the religious scholar said.

Dr Muhammad Raghib Naeemi, the recently appointed chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology, also condemned the incident in a meeting of the council. He also urged the state and the government to act strongly. “Exemplary punishment should be given following speedy trials. All those involved in planning, inciting, organising and executing the violence must be dealt with an iron-hand,” the CII head said.

Human rights defenders have expressed serious concern about the situation, saying the pattern of such attacks in the name of religion points to the failure of the state and law enforcement agencies in curtailing growing extremism.

The mob also torched a shoe factory owned by the family. They also burnt tyres and damaged electricity installations in the area. Regional Police Officer Shariq Kamal said that the mob also pelted the police party with stones.

“The failure of the state to take appropriate action against perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident” has emboldened those who exploit religious sentiments for criminal actions,” activist Jibran Nasir said on social media.

On June 4, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released the report of its fact-finding mission. According to the HRCP mission, it appeared highly likely that the incident was a targeted attack on Nazir Masih’s family, emanating from a personal dispute.

The HRCP report stressed that the connection between the alleged instigator and a political party must be taken very seriously, given the HRCP’s previous observations regarding a similar role played by some supporters of the same party in instigating attacks on a minority community.

While the mission commended the role of the police in evacuating the family from the area, it pointed out that the police failed to protect the vulnerable elderly man from being lynched. The mission also noted that the police failed to anticipate despite an emergency call they had received that an allegation of blasphemy could endanger the lives of the Christian residents of Mujahid Colony.

The commission demanded that those responsible for the death of Nazir Masih be arrested, investigated and charged. It said there should be no leniency in this regard.

The HRCP also called for restoring the Christian citizens’ confidence and concerted efforts to stop hate speech on social media platforms.

The writer, a staff member, can be reached at He tweets at @waqargillani

Mob violence