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Pakistan's Ahmadis condemn spate of murders

Beleaguered community demands state protection following latest faith-based killing

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Pakistan's Ahmadis condemn spate of murders

Barriers are placed on the road leading to an Ahmadi mosque in Rabwah in Chiniot district in Punjab, Pakistan, in this file photo. (Photo: AFP)

The Ahmadi community in Pakistan is demanding protection from the state following a fatal shooting of a worshipper in Punjab.

Tahir Ahmed, 31, was shot dead while his father was critically injured after they were coming out of their house following conclusion of Friday prayers on Nov. 20 in Murh Balochan area of Nankana Sahib district. Their neighbors overpowered Mohammad Mohab, the 16-year-old assassin, and handed him over to police.

According to local police, the ninth-grader has confessed to the faith-based killing.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari condemned the targeted attacks and killings of members of the community in various parts of Pakistan.

She said in a tweet that it was the government's responsibility to act and protect all citizens and that the perpetrator was being proceeded against in accordance with the law.

Saleem ud Din, a spokesman for Pakistan’s minority Ahmadi community, welcomed the state response in a tweet.

“Thank you for finally condemning the attacks. In the past two years and specifically four months, I have been alerting government at all levels to little effect. Even after two years, I’m still waiting for a reply from you about a request for a meeting with you about these human rights violations,” he stated.

According to a press statement from Rabwah, the sect's headquarters, this is the fourth Ahmadi killed because of his faith in just four months.

“There has been a wave of anti-Ahmadiyya hate campaigning and instigation to violence in these areas. At some events speakers openly incited participants to kill Ahmadis. In the past few months, members of the Ahmadiyya community are increasingly being targeted because of their faith. At the same time, the government has turned a blind eye to such activities. There are many other incidents of violence where Ahmadis were injured or faced the serious loss of property,” Rabwah stated.

“It is high time the government of Pakistan reins in the hate mongers that are operating with impunity. At the same time, the government has to implement its own laws about hate campaigns 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.”

On Nov. 8, an elderly Ahmadi was murdered in the northwestern city of Peshawar while he was waiting for a bus.

Ahmadis have repeatedly been targeted by Islamic extremists since parliament declared them non-Muslims in 1974. The community is often targeted by conservative Muslims who consider them heretics for believing that Muhammad was not the last prophet.

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