Media reports say police in northwestern Pakistan yesterday registered a case against hundreds of people who attacked a police station and killed a man being questioned there on suspicion of desecrating the Quran.

The Associated Press (AP), citing police official Zahid Khan, reports that police were trying to identify the people who attacked and burned the police station in Madyan, a popular tourist destination in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Thursday night and killed the suspect.

He said the suspect, identified as Mohammad Ismail, was a tourist from the eastern Punjab province and was staying at a hotel in the town when a mob accused him of burning pages from the Quran.

Khan said Ismail was being questioned by police when the mob attacked the police station and clashed with officers. The mob later snatched Ismail, killed him and burned his body, Zahid Khan was quoted as saying. 

According to AP, blasphemy accusations are common in Pakistan.  Under the country’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam or Islamic religious figures can be sentenced to death.  While authorities have yet to carry out a death sentence for blasphemy, accusations can cause riots and incite mobs to violence.

Last month, a mob in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province reportedly attacked a 72-year-old Christian man after accusing him of desecrating pages of the Quran.  He later died at a hospital.