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Man accused of blasphemy shot dead

A 52-year-old Muslim man arrested for blasphemy has been killed by gunmen after being released from jail, Pakistani police said today.

Police officer Mohammad Ayub said the bullet-riddled body of Abid Mahmood was found yesterday in Taxila, a town about 25 miles (40km) from the capital, Islamabad.

He said Mahmood was arrested in 2011 after claiming to be Islam's prophet, but authorities freed him recently after concluding that he was not mentally stable.

Mr Ayub said Mahmood's relatives buried him in the courtyard of his home after residents objected to his burial in a local graveyard.

Under Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, anyone convicted of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death. However, people often take the law into their own hands.

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