Police in Pakistan saved a Christian couple from a Muslim mob that was attempting to lynch them for allegedly committing blasphemy, a senior officer said July 2.
The incident, which took place in the village of Makki in Punjab province, represents a rare successful intervention by authorities in a country where even unproven charges of blasphemy can result in a bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
Sohail Zafar Chattha, the district police chief, said the illiterate Christian couple had obtained an old advertisement awning containing slogans of various colleges and were using it as a mat to sleep on.
Arabic inscriptions from the Koran were among the slogans, leading clerics to accuse the couple of committing blasphemy.
"Muslims of the town gathered there and dragged the poor couple, who didn't know what they had done. They were being beaten to death," Chattha said.
"Police intervened in time and rescued the couple," he said, adding that they were later handed over to a Christian community in Lahore.
He said police have arrested a cleric in the incident.