Pakistan arrests at least 43 suspects over blasphemy killings
Pakistani police arrested at least 43 suspects on Wednesday in connection with the murder of a Pakistani Christian couple by a Muslim mob for allegedly desecrating the Koran in Pakistan on Tuesday. The couple were beaten to death by hundreds of locals who then burned their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked in Punjab province. The detainees were residents of Kot Rasha Kishan town in Punjab province where the couple was killed.
Allegations of blasphemy are often used in Pakistan to settle personal scores or to target members of minorities. In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said a responsible state cannot tolerate mob rule and public lynching with impunity and described the murders "an unacceptable crime."
Police says the victims have been identified as Shehzad Masih and his wife Shama and the suspects are produced before the court in Lahore. The police are also searching the factory manager for his alleged involvement in the killings.
About 200 people in Lahore, mainly from the Christian community and human rights organisations, protested against the killings, which took place in the town of Kot Radha Kishan about 60km (40 miles) to the south-west. They held signs saying "Christian carnage in the name of blasphemy should be stopped" and "the government has failed to give protection to minorities".
The owner of the brick kiln gave it a religious colour, and they locked up the Christian woman Shama for two days, then attacked her with shovels, then tortured her husband and threw them in the brick kiln.
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