South Asia

Pakistan investigates brutal mob killing of brothers

The portraits of the two brothers are shown by their father Sajjad Butt and sister Momina Butt at their home in Sialkot on Sunday, 22 August, 2010
Image caption The brothers were apparently mistaken for robbers

Pakistan's government has launched an inquiry into the brutal killing by a mob of two teenage brothers in the eastern city of Sialkot.

The 15 August lynchings were captured on video and have outraged Pakistanis.

In the footage the youths protest their innocence as they are beaten with sticks and wires by a group of men before being strung up on metal poles.

Police officers and other on-lookers did nothing. Officials say the mob mistook the brothers for robbers.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says it is clear from the footage that the two brothers - Mughees Butt, 19, and Muneeb Butt, 15 - were alive as they were hung from the poles.

At one point, the screaming youths ask to be shot so their ordeal might end.

Local police officials have been suspended while the investigation is held.

Our correspondent says the lynching has raised more questions about the government at a time when its popularity has plummeted to new depths, following accusations it was slow to respond to floods that have caused havoc across Pakistan.