Angry protestors in Kohistan demand the arrest of a Chinese engineer over accusations of blasphemy. Police have taken a Chinese engineer into safe custody. Large numbers of protestors gathered and attacked the engineer’s office.
Security forces reportedly shot fire in the air to disperse the protestors. Protestors blocked Karakoram Highway leading to a traffic jam for an hour. Hundreds of vehicles were stuck for hours due to traffic jams. Chinese engineers are working on various development projects in Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan region.
An engineer of a Chinese company in Dasu is accused of blasphemy following a heated dispute over slow pace of work during #Ramadan Police has taken the engineer in protective custody after scores of labourers attacked the engineer's office #blasphemy #Pakistan
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) April 17, 2023
According to the media reports, a Chinese engineer was upset due to the slow work progress during Ramadan which lead to a heated exchange between the Chinese engineer and the laborers.
Netizens are urging police to ensure the safety of Chinese engineers and to prevent another episode of mob justice and violence. In 2021, a Sri Lankan manager lost his life in a similar incident in Sialkot.
Pakistan court sentenced six men to death and dozens more to jail terms ranging from two years to live for the brutal mob slaying of a Sri Lankan factory manager accused of blasphemy.
Pakistan court sentences six to death for Sri Lankan’s ‘blasphemy’ killing
The vigilante attack in Sialkot caused outrage, with then-prime minister Imran Khan calling it a “day of shame for Pakistan”.
Few issues are as galvanizing in Pakistan as blasphemy, and even the slightest suggestion of an insult to Islam can supercharge protests and incite lynchings.
Prosecutors had said 88 of 89 people on trial for the murder of Priyantha Diyawadana had been convicted, with six sentenced to death, nine to life in prison, and the rest jail terms ranging from two to five years.
In April 2017 an angry mob lynched university student Mashal Khan when he was accused of posting blasphemous content online.
A Christian couple was lynched and their remains burnt in a kiln in Punjab in 2014 after being falsely accused of desecrating the Koran.