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Man Accused Of Blasphemy Stoned To Death By Pakistani Mob

A mob in a remote area of Pakistan stoned a man to death for allegedly desecrating the Koran, police said on February 13.

The incident took place in a village in the Khanewal district of Punjab Province.

A custodian at the local mosque reportedly told villagers he saw the man burning a Koran in the mosque on the evening of February 12.

A police team arrived at the scene, but the mob snatched the man away and attacked officers who tried to retrieve him.

The mob -- which reportedly numbered several hundred people -- then stoned the man to death.

Police were able to retrieve the body and have opened an investigation. A police spokesman said dozens of men who live near the mosque have been detained.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands,” Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on Twitter after the incident. “Mob lynching will be dealt with with the full severity of the law.”

Tahir Ashrafi, Khan's special representative on religious harmony, said at a televised press conference that the victim's family said "he was mentally ill and his mental health wasn't right for the past 10 or 15 years."

Mob attacks against people accused of blasphemy occur regularly in Pakistan. Rights groups say such accusations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities or settle personal scores.

In December, a mob in the city of Sialkot lynched a Sri Lankan man and burned his body in an incident that Khan said had shamed the country.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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