Section 144 imposed in Chitral for two months after protests on blasphemy issue

Gul Hamaad Farooqi


The district administration of Chitral has imposed Section 144 in the district after situation was going out of control as enraged mobs were trying to kill a person who allegedly committed blasphemy.
Chitral Deputy Commissioner Shahab Hameed Yousafzai said public gatherings, pillion riding and assembly of more than three people has been banned and educational institutions and business centers will also remain closed till normalization of the situation.
Local sources said a 22-year-old man Rashid committed blasphemy during Friday sermon at the mosque and then immediately sought apology when people stood up to beat him. The prayer leader of the mosque handed him over to police, but the angry mob attacked the police station and tried to break its gate.
They also pelted stones on the police station after which policemen fired teargas shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse the crowd. The crowd was asking the police either to hand over Rashid to them or punish him on the spot.
The agitation of the enraged mob continued till late night and District Nazim Maghfirat Shah and deputy commissioner also failed to convince them to go back. The Frontier Corps personnel were also called to the spot to hold negotiations with the angry protesters.
The district administration told journalists that blasphemy and terrorism cases have been registered against the accused and a medical board will also be constituted to ascertain his mental condition.
The area people said Rashid was sent back from Qatar by his Pakistani friends by collecting donations due to his worsening mental condition. They added that the accused is known for his mental instability.
On Saturday, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) ordered local police to form a medical board to assess the mental and physical health of the blasphemy accused.

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