A Pakistani mob has killed a woman and two of her granddaughters after a member of their religious sect was accused of posting “blasphemous” material on Facebook. The dead, who include a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, a religious sect who consider themselves Muslim, but who are condemned as heretics by others. Pakistani law considers them to not be proper Muslims.
According to Reuters, local police said that violence flared up in the town of Gujranwala, in the north of the country, after an altercation between two men, one of whom was an Ahmadi accused of posted “objectionable material” on Facebook.
A police officer who wished to remain anonymous said: “Later, a crowd of 150 people came to the police station demanding the registration of a blasphemy case against the accused.
“As police were negotiating with the crowd, another mob attacked and started burning the houses of Ahmadis.”
The person accused of making the post was not injured.
Salim ud Din, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Ahmadi community, said it was the worst attack they had suffered since 86 Ahmadis died in simultaneous attacks on places of worship four years ago.
“Police were there but just watching the burning. They didn’t do anything to stop the mob. First they looted their homes and shops and then they burnt the homes.”
Pakistan bans Ahmadis from using Muslim greetings, saying Muslim prayers and referring to their places of worship as mosques. Accusations of blasphemy have shot up in recent years, from one in 2011 to 68 last year. Already this year, around 100 people have been accused.
Accusations are increasingly followed by mob violence, sometimes with fatalities.