SHAFAQNA – The custodian of a shrine in Pakistan has tortured and then murdered at least 20 worshipers, including four women.
Police said the mass killing occurred at the Shrine of Ali Ahmed Gujjar near the city of Sargodha in the eastern Punjab Province early on Sunday, adding that they had arrested three suspects, including the shrine’s custodian, who is believed to be mentally unstable.
Reports indicated that the victims had been intoxicated and tortured before being mercilessly killed with batons and machetes.
“The 50-year-old shrine custodian, Abdul Waheed, has confessed that he killed these people because he feared that they had come to kill him,” said Zulfiqar Hameed, the regional police chief.
“The suspect appears to be paranoid and psychotic, or it could be related to rivalry for the control of shrine,” he added, noting that further investigation was underway.
The locals said that Waheed usually visited the shrine for “spiritual sessions” with the disciples twice a month and would torture devotees with fire, claiming that the practice had “healing” effects and would “cleanse” them.
The victims hailed from different areas of Punjab, and the bodies of 14 of the deceased were handed over to their families after post-mortem examinations.