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Facebook Post Sparks Deadly Violence Against Ahmadis in Pakistan

"They took the law into their own hands," a Pakistani police chief told NBC News. "What followed was unabated mob violence."

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A mob attacked and killed a grandmother and two children over a “blasphemous” Facebook post allegedly published by a member of their minority religious sect in Pakistan on Sunday. Police allege that Aqib Salim, 25, uploaded an “obscene and objectionable picture of the Kaaba [Islam’s holiest site] and a scantily clad woman" on the site.

Rehmat Ali, head constable of Gujranwala police, told NBC News that the post "angered the local community" and several people asked for Salim to be arrested. "When we insisted on a formal complaint, they took the law into their own hands," Ali said. "What followed was unabated mob violence." Up to 600 people were involved as the mob set fire to five homes and several shops in Gujranwala belonging to membbrs of the Ahmadi sect -- which Pakistan declared “non-Muslim” in 1984 due to its alternative belief system. An Ahmadi woman aged in her late 40s and her granddaughters aged eight and seven months were killed. Saleem ud-Din, spokesman of the Jaamat-e-Ahmadiya, which represents Pakistan's 700,000 Ahmadis, said police stood by as Ahmadis’ property was burned and looted. Din added: “Aqib didn’t put up the Facebook post. Somebody else, a third party, posted it on his wall. He objected to it, but didn’t remove it. That was noticed by one of his Facebook friends, who complained to some elders about it. That’s when things escalated.”

Image: Mob attacks religious minority following blasphemy accusations
Police arrive after the houses of a religious minority group were torched by a mob following accusations of blasphemy in Gujranwala, Pakistan, early on Monday.MUHAMMAD OWAIS / EPA


- Wajahat S. Khan