Dozens have been arrested after a Christian couple was beaten and burned alive for allegedly desecrating the Koran Reuters

Dozens of people have been arrested following a mob attack on a Christian couple for allegedly desecrating the Koran.

The married man and woman were beaten and then burned alive in the kiln where they were working.

"We have arrested 44 people, it was a local issue incited by the mullah of a local mosque," a regional police chief told Reuters. "No particular sectarian group or religious outfit was behind the attack."

Following the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged local authorities to increase security for the Christian communities who live in the province.

Christians are often persecuted for blasphemy in the Muslim-majority Pakistan, where derogatory remarks of the Koran are punished with the death penalty.

According to the country's penal code: "Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."

The country introduced a de facto moratorium on civilian hangings in 2008 and only one person - a soldier convicted by a court martial and hanged in November 2012 - has been executed since.

A Christian woman is currently at risk of being executed by hanging for allegedly making blasphemous remarks about the Prophet Mohammed.