Pakistan: Ahmadi leader and cousin of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam gunned down | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan: Ahmadi leader and cousin of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam gunned down

A prominent leader of the Ahmadi community and a relative of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam was gunned down in Pakistan’s Nankana Sahib city.

world Updated: Mar 30, 2017 20:24 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Pakistani civil rights activists protest the killings of Ahmadis in the country.
Pakistani civil rights activists protest the killings of Ahmadis in the country.(AFP File Photo)

A leader of Pakistan’s beleaguered Ahmadi community and a close relative of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam was gunned down on the outskirts of Lahore on Thursday morning in what police believe was a hate crime.

Malik Saleem Latif, the first cousin of Salam, and his son Malik Farhan were attacked by unidentified armed men in Nankana Sahib. The two men, both advocates, were on their way to court at the time.

Latif, who was a leader of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya, died instantly when the attackers opened fire.

The outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed the killing. LeJ spokesman Ali Bin Sufian said on social media that a “special squad of LeJ Riaz Basra Brigade” had shot dead Latif, whom he described as an “infidel”.

The Ahmadi community, an offshoot of mainstream Islam, has been declared “non-Muslim” in Pakistan. Members of the minority are increasingly targeted by mainstream Muslims and many have been charged under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

According to Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya spokesperson Saleemuddin, the father and son were on their way to court for the hearing of a case when they were attacked.

Saleemuddin said Latif was the president of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya in Nankana city. “Advocate Latif was killed because of his religious beliefs,” he said.

One of Latif’s sons is a civil judge in Lahore.

On Wednesday, an annual report issued by the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya said at least six Ahmadis were killed in Pakistan last year because of their religious beliefs.

Saleemudin cited Ordinance XX, which later came to be known as the blasphemy law, as the main reason for the targeted killings of Ahmadis. “Since its imposition in 1984, so far 250 Ahmadis have been killed,” he said.

He also said there was no check on hate-mongering against the community and pointed out that 1,700 advertisements against Ahmadis were published in newspapers last year. The hate-mongers also had the support of the government, he said.

Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate who played a key role in the nuclear programme and whose work led to the discovery of the so-called God Particle, has been shunned in the country because he was an Ahmadi.