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Minority Ahmadi Doctor Shot Dead, 3 Injured After Teen Opens Fire Over 'Religious Differences' in Pakistan

(Image: News18/Qayoom Khan)

(Image: News18/Qayoom Khan)

According to police, the Ahmadi family members were returning to their home after offering Friday prayers in Murh Balochan at Nankana Sahib, some 80 km from Lahore, when an armed teenage boy opened indiscriminate fire on them.

A doctor belonging to Pakistan's minority Ahmadi community was shot dead, while his father and two uncles were injured when a Muslim teenage boy opened fire on them over "religious differences" in the country's Punjab province on Friday, police said. According to police, the Ahmadi family members were returning to their home after offering Friday prayers in Murh Balochan at Nankana Sahib, some 80 km from Lahore, when an armed teenage boy opened indiscriminate fire on them.

During the firing, 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 suffered bullets injuries. Police have arrested the attacker, aged between 16 and 17. He lives in the same neighbourhood as that of the Ahmadi family and is apparently inspired by the radical views against Ahmadis, police said.

"The suspect has been taken into custody and he confessed to having attacked the family over religious differences. It is being ascertained whether the teenager had attacked the Ahmadis on his own or he was following somebody else's instructions, a senior police official said. The Ahmadi community spokesperson Saleem-ud-Din strongly condemned the attack and said there has been a wave of anti-Ahmadi campaign in Pakistan. At some events recently, speakers openly incited participants to kill Ahmadis. In the past few months, members of the Ahmadi community are increasingly being targeted because of their faith. The Imran Khan government has turned a blind eye to such activities. This is the fourth killing of an Ahmadi community member due to his faith in the last few months in Pakistan.

There are many other incidents of violence where Ahmadis have been injured or faced serious loss of property, he said. The Ahmadi community has demanded that the government rein in the hate mongers who are operating with impunity. At the same time, the government has to implement its own laws about hate campaign on social media that it is extensively used for this purpose. The safety and security of every citizen in Pakistan is the responsibility of the government and Ahmadis are law-abiding citizens of this country who should get the same rights and protection as any other citizen of Pakistan, Saleem-ud-Din said. The Ahmadi faith was established on 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 repeatedly been targeted by Islamic extremists in this Muslim majority nation in attacks that have drawn condemnation from human right groups. Attacks targeting members of the Ahmadiya community have seen an uptick in recent months, the Dawn News reported.

Last month, an Ahmadi professor was shot dead in a targeted attack in Peshawar, allegedly over his religious beliefs. In July, an American national, Tahir Naseem, was shot dead by a teenager in a Peshawar courtroom. It later turned out that the deceased had reportedly left the Ahmadi community.

On August 12, Meraj Ahmed, an Ahmadi trader, was shot dead by attackers in Peshawar's Gulbahar area. On September 10, a mob besieged 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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