In the media frenzy surrounding the Gojra riots just a few days back, another similar incident happened in Sheikupura, Lahore which seemingly never caught the media limelight, remaining submerged within the inside pages of oblivion.
On the 5th of August a riot occurred in a leather factory which left two people dead when a mob of hundreds of people, attacked a leather processing unit near Muridke over alleged desecration of Quranic verses, the owner of the leather factory Sheikh Najeeb Zafar is among the dead. Police suspected that desecration issue had been used to instigate workers of East Leather Factory to settle some personal score. It most likely was the result of a simmering dispute between the management and workers over the wages issue.
A certain Qasim Mughal who was a representative of the workers, held a meeting with Najeeb Zafar to discuss the wages issue Zafar was rolling a calendar carrying Quranic verses at that time. Mughal in turn accused Zafar of desecrating the verses and conveyed his accusations to fellow workers and nearby villagers through his cell phone. It is said that Shabbir, a village prayer leader, played a major role in instigating the villagers through the loudspeaker. He announced that Zafar tore apart the holy book and threw its pages in a nearby drain.
Police said the workers held a demonstration inside the factory, while the villagers blocked Sheikhupura Road. When the protesting workers stormed Zafar’s office, security guards confronted them and reportedly opened fire. Some workers snatched the gun from a security guard and returned the fire. In the crossfire Zafar and a labourer Muzammil Shah died on the spot. The protesters later ransacked the factory and set fire to it.
Ali Zaidi, a PTI leader and a close friend of Najeeb Zafar shared approximately the same report on a CRDP mailing list
He went to the time office and saw a calendar with Quranic verses (probably old and torn already) he tried to remove the tape and it got torn. Watching this, one of the worker got infuriated and said “you have insulted QURAN” He jokingly said, “no I was removing the tape only”. Najeeb then went to his office and learned that the worker is getting hyper and out of control. Najeeb sent his manager to calm him down and offered apology. Worker remarked “iss kaam ki maafi nahin hai”
He then called the nearby mosque in the village Khatiala Virkan where it was announced on the loudspeaker that the “Eastern Leather factory kay malkan nay Quran ki bay hurmaty ki hai, aur wajib e qatal hai”
Soon there was a huge mob who came to the factory. Police was called and Najeeb wanted to leave in protection of Police but in vain. Eventually the mob broke the gates of factory open, ransacked the office, burned vehicles and destroyed factory property etc. Finally they got to Najeeb and attacked with sticks and ‘belchas’ he suffered head injuries and at the same time he was shot and killed on the spot
I’m truly shocked at how easy it is for people to kill in the name of Islam, this is certainly not Islam by any means, I would vehemently suggest a Blasphemy law against these blasphemous people who degrade Islam into another religion all together – they should be banished and more specifically the religious leaders who instigate the people in the name of religion.