An angry mob of Pakistani Muslims burned scores of homes belonging to Christians on Saturday to protest against a Pakistani of that faith who was arrested after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammed.



According to media reports from the Badami Bagh district near Lahore, over 100 homes were torched.

The arrested man was said to be Sawan Masih, described as being in his mid-20s.

The Express Tribune, a Pakistani news outlet, reported that President Asif Ali Zardari had asked authorities for a report about the destruction of homes.

The news outlet said a Muslim mob estimated to have included close to 3,000 people forced members of the local Christian community to flee, leaving their homes and possessions unprotected. It added that Masih’s father was severely beaten.

“Mob wanted police to hand over the alleged blasphemer,” Hafiz Majid, the top police official in Badami Bagh, told CNN.

Pakistan has strict blasphemy laws outlawing criticism of Islam and the Prophet Muhammed. A violation can result in the death penalty.

Masih has denied the charges against him.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) blasted Pakistani authorities for failing to act against the persecution of Christians.

“Instead of investigating the case, the police arrested Christians while those who went on a rampage and can easily be identified from television footage have gone scot-free,” complained HRCP chairwoman Zohra Yusuf.

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