Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: The recent killing of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-affiliated local cleric Maulana Nigar Alam for his 'inflammatory remarks' in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Mardan, has become controversial due to its possible consequences for party chief Imran Khan who has seldom tried to pose himself equal not only to the Prophet but Allah also.

Maulana Nigar Alam, 40, while addressing a rally under the guidance of PTI Mardan in the Sawaldhir area to express solidarity with Imran Khan on May 6, said, "Imran Khan is a truthful person and I respect him like the Prophet".

The remarks, considered as blasphemy, enraged people gathered at the rally. They attacked Maulana Nigar. The police, however, reached the venue and locked him in a shop.

Following this, talks were held with the clerics, but the people, mostly PTI activists took the form of an enraged mob, broke the shutter of the shop and took Alam out. They started kicking him and beating him ruthlessly with sticks and ultimately, lynched him to death.

Various sections of Pakistani Muslims wonder why Islamic radicals like Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and others do not take cognizance of such kind of sacrilegious narrative being developed by Imran Khan and his followers so far.

The damage to the PTI has been done and the Mardan lynching serves as a serious warning. Imran Khan and his party have so far been ignored by the Muslim fanatics in real terms and Islamists appeared to be sparing him.

However, Pakistan intelligence agencies and sensible media persons as well as Imran Khan himself have strong apprehensions of an assassination attempt on him.

The PTI recently staged a drama in which a young boy was equating Imran's parents with Prophet Muhammad's parents. Possibilities of an attempt on his life by hardcore Islamists and other elements in disguise of religion cannot be ruled out.

Pakistan journalist Talat Hussain termed the incident as "Bitter harvest of Fitna", while Rifatullah Orakzai said that he has seen the video in which Maulana has not mentioned the name of Imran Khan.