‘Pursue reforms’: US to Pak after man killed in court during blasphemy trial

Tahir Ahmad Naseem, from the minority Ahmadi community, was shot dead in a courtroom in Peshawar on Wednesday. He was on trial for blasphemy for allegedly claiming to be a prophet.
Police officers gather at an entry gate of district court following the killing of Tahir Naseem, who was accused of insulting Islam, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 29, 2020.(AP)
Police officers gather at an entry gate of district court following the killing of Tahir Naseem, who was accused of insulting Islam, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 29, 2020.(AP)
Updated on Jul 30, 2020 03:04 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Islamabad | ByImtiaz Ahmad | Edited by Ashutosh Tripathi

Describing the killing of an American citizen in Pakistan’s courtroom as “shameful tragedy”, the US state department has called on Islamabad to take immediate action and bring in reforms to put an end to such incidents in future.

Tahir Ahmad Naseem, from the minority Ahmadi community, was shot dead in a courtroom in Peshawar on Wednesday. He was on trial for blasphemy for allegedly claiming to be a prophet.

“Condolences to family of Tahir Naseem, an American citizen who was killed today inside a courtroom in Pakistan. We urge Pak to take immediate action and pursue reforms that will prevent such a shameful tragedy from happening again,” tweeted Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs, US State Department.

Naseem, who was arrested in 2018, was accused of having violated Pakistan’s blasphemy laws that carry the death penalty for certain offences. He was shot in the courtroom by the person who had filed charges against him.

In a related development, a member of Sindh assembly from the ruling PTI party has changed his DP on his social media page to display a picture of the murderer to pay tribute for his action.

Ahmadis, a four million-strong minority group in Pakistan, have faced death, threats, intimidation and a sustained hate campaign for decades.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021