November 20, 2020 10:57:17 PM
A doctor belonging to Pakistani Ahmadi minority community was shot dead, while his father and two uncles were injured when a teenage Muslim boy opened fire on them for “religious differences” in the country’s Punjab province on Friday, police said.
According to police, members of the Ahmadi family were returning to their home after Friday prayers in Murh Balochan in Nankana Sahib, about 80km from Lahore, when an armed teenage boy opened fire indiscriminately on them.
During the shooting, 31-year-old Tahir Ahmad, a doctor who did his MBBS from Russia, died on the spot, while his father Tariq Ahmad and two uncles were wounded by bullets.
Police have arrested the attacker, aged between 16 and 17 years. He lives in the same neighborhood as the Ahmadi family and is apparently inspired by radical views against Ahmadis, police said.
“The suspect was taken into custody and he confessed that he attacked his family because of religious differences. Beingshte ascertaining whether the teenager had attacked the Ahmadis himself or he was following someone else’s instructions,? said a senior police official.
Community spokesman Ahmadi Saleem-ud-Din strongly condemned the attack and said there had been a wave of anti-Ahmadi campaign in Pakistan.
“In some recent events, speakers have openly incited participants to kill Ahmadis. In recent months, members of the Ahmadi community have been increasingly targeted because of their faith. The Imran Khan government has turned a blind eye to such activities. This is the fourth killing of a member of the Ahmadi community because of his faith in Pakistan in recent months. “There are many other incidents of violence, when Ahmadi was injured or faced serious property loss,” he said.
The Ahmadi community has demanded that the government curb hate followers who act with impunity.
“At the same time, the government must implement its own hate campaign laws on social media, which are widely used for this purpose. “The safety and security of every citizen in Pakistan is the responsibility of the government and Ahmad is a law-abiding citizen of this country who should receive the same rights and protection as any other citizen of Pakistan,” Saleem-ud-Din said.
The Ahmadi faith was established in the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whose followers believe he was a prophet.
Pakistan’s parliament declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974. Since then, Ahmadis have been consistently targeted by Islamic extremists in this Muslim-majority country in attacks that have drawn condemnation from human rights groups.
Attacks targeting members of the Ahmadiya community have seen an increase in recent months, Dawn News reported.
Last month, a Ahmadi professor was shot dead in a targeted attack in Peshawar, ostensibly for his religious beliefs.
In July, a U.S. citizen, Tahir Naseem, was shot dead by a teenager in a Peshawar courtroom. It later emerged that the deceased was said to have left the Ahmadi community.
On August 12, Meraj Ahmed, an Ahmadi trader, was shot dead by attackers in the Gulbahar area of Peshawar.
On September 10, a mob surrounded the residence of an Ahmadi in the Phandu area of Peshawar and the family was rescued by police. However, one of the family members was arrested and charged with blasphemy.
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