Blasphemy Accused Elderly Man Who Was Shot Dead Inside Pakistan Court Was American Citizen, Says US 

Blasphemy Accused Elderly Man Who Was Shot Dead Inside Pakistan Court Was American Citizen, Says US Murder - representative image (Needpix)

In a major development, it has been revealed that the elderly man who was shot dead during the hearing of a blasphemy case against him in a local court at Peshawar Judicial Complex on Wednesday (29 July) was American citizen, reports Times of India.

According to the statement issued late Thursday by the US State department, the deceased Tahir Ahmad Naseem was “lured to Pakistan” from his home in Illinois and entrapped by the country’s blasphemy laws. However, the statement did not elaborate on the circumstances in which he came to be in Pakistan.

As per an earlier report, the deceased Tahir Ahmad Naseem was arrested two years ago on the charges of blasphemy for claiming to be a prophet and was being brought to the court from Peshawar Central Jail. He died on the spot after being shot six times in the court of Additional Session Judge Shaukatullah Khan.

A lawyer, present inside in the courtroom, was quoted by the report as saying, “During the hearing of the case, the complainant said that the accused was an Ahmadi and asked him to recite the Kalima-e-Tayyaba.” After this the complainant fired at the elderly man and killed him.

The accused was arrested from the high security court complex and he later reportedly told police that Prophet Muhammad had ordered him to kill Nasim because he had belonged to the Ahmadi faith.

As per a spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community, the deceased was born in the persecuted Ahmadi sect, however he later left the sect and claimed to be a prophet himself.

The leader also suggested that the deceased was mentally ill and that he was unaware of the consequences of his acts.

The deceased elder man was charged under Section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), Section 295-B (defiling etc. of the Holy Quran), Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad PBUH) and Section 298 (uttering words etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The US statement further added, “We urge Pakistan to reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system, which allow such abuses to occur, and to ensure that the suspect is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Multiple human rights groups have raised fingers at the Pakistan’s hardline blasphemy laws over the years. They have stated that the laws are used to disproportionately target the minority communities while encouraging extra-judicial killings.

Between 1987 and 2017, 1,500 people in Pakistan were charged with blasphemy and 75 of them were killed, as per the Center for Social Justice.

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