Three dead after mob attacks minority Pakistani community in Punjab

(Photo: REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra)Ahmadi women walk past graves at the Ahmadi graveyard in the town of Rabwa December 9, 2013. Three years ago, 86 Ahmadis were killed in two simultaneous attacks on Friday prayers in Lahore. There have been no mass attacks since then, but targeted killings are rising: last year 20 Ahmadis were killed, up from 11 in 2009

A mob looking for man said to have posted a blasphemous picture on Facebook set four houses of the minority Ahmadi community on fire killing three people including two children in Pakistan on Sunday.

Reports said several other were injured in the attack for which an Islamist mob hunting down an Ahmadi man in Gujranwala, Punjab was blamed, according to a report by The Express Tribune.

Ahmadi's are a minority Muslim group in Pakistan where about 85 percent of the 196 million people are Sunni Muslims with Shia's accouting for roughly another 10 percent.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty and is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan and a mere allegation can trigger crowd violence ucanews reported.

In 2013, more than 3,000 Muslims rampaged through Joseph Colony in Lahore, burning down about 100 Christian homes, over blasphemy allegations against a Christian man sentenced to death earlier this year.

Rights campaigners say the blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal feuds.

The Ahmadi man, who was only identified as Saqib, had been accused of posting an apparently blasphemous picture on Facebook.

When asked about the details in the picture, members of the mob said the photo showed a naked woman standing beside the Kaaba, the holiest site in Mecca, reported.

The fire killed a 55-year-old woman and her two young children. One of those injured in the attack, a pregnant woman, suffered a miscarriage while being treated at a local hospital.

Police responding managed to disperse the angry crowd and bring the situation under their control. Authorities immediately launched an investigation into the matter.

Saqib's mother told a journalist her son had nothing to do with the purported post.

She said he was framed for being the author the post. She also explained that she believed someone created a fake Facebook account which carried the name of her son and used it to post the picture.

She however did not explain as to what motivated the supposed perpetrator to use her son's name and identity in posting the offensive photo.

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