20 Stabbed, Clubbed To Death In Pak’s Punjab Province

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Update: At least 20 people, including six members of a family, were tortured and killed at a shrine allegedly by its “mentally ill” custodian and his associates in Sargodha in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Lahore: At least 19 people, including six members of a family, were allegedly killed at a dargah in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

According to Deputy Commissioner Liaqut Ali Chatha, the incident took place at the dargah of Muhammad Ali Gujjar in a village (Chak-95 North) in Sargodha district, some 200 km from Lahore, at around midnight on Saturday.

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Chatha said it appeared that the caretakers of the dargah had first drugged the visitors and then stabbed and clubbed them to death. “We have taken five people, including the caretakers of the dargah — Waheed and Yousuf, into custody for interrogation,” he said.
Four injured persons have been shifted to hospital where their condition is stated to be critical.

People would come to the dargah for “cleansing” their sins and allow the caretakers to beat them with clubs. “But in this case the visitors were first drugged and then stabbed with daggers and hit with clubs, apparently during the cleansing process,” Chatha said.

According to senior police officer Bilal Iftikhar, one injured witness said there was a clash between two groups of the caretakers of the dargah over its possession. 19 people of both groups, including six members of one family, were killed, the police officer said. “We have launched an investigation into all aspects of this case to ascertain the facts of this gory incident,” Iftikhar said.

A heavy contingent of police was deployed at the dargah soon after the incident and a search operation was launched in adjoining areas. An emergency has been declared in hospitals in Sargodah.

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