“Extrajudicial executions will be treated with the full strictness of the law. We have zero tolerance for anyone who takes the law into their own hands,” he said in a statement.
A government spokesperson said that more than 60 people suspected of involvement in the killing have been arrested, adding that more suspects have been identified through social media videos filmed by villagers in Tulamba, Khaniwal district.
A police official, Munwar Hussain, told Reuters that crowds gathered at a mosque on Saturday night after the son of the mosque’s imam announced that he had seen the man burn pages from the Koran.
Hussain said the police arrived to find the man unconscious and tied to a tree, adding that the mob also attacked the police.
“They killed the villagers armed with batons, axes and iron bars, and hung his body on a tree,” Hussain said.
He said the evidence collected by the police so far indicated that the dead man, named as Muhammad Mushtaq, was in his fifties and appeared to have mental disabilities.
Mass murders on charges of blasphemy – a crime that can carry the death penalty – are fairly frequent in Muslim-majority Pakistan.
“Incurable bacon nerd. Lifelong tv aficionado. Writer. Award-winning explorer. Evil web buff. Amateur pop culture ninja.”