LAHORE: A doctor, belonging to Ahmadi community, was shot dead on Friday, while his father and two uncles suffered injuries when a teenage boy opened fire on them in Punjab’s Nankana Sahib. It is reported that the family was offering prayers when they heard a knock on their door. As Dr Tahir Mahmood (31) opened the door, the teenage boy, carrying a pistol, shot him.
According to police, the victim suffered bullet wounds and fell on the ground, while his family members rushed to the door on hearing the gunshots. Police said the suspect also opened fire on them and injured Dr Mahmood’s father, Tariq, and uncles Saeed and Tayyab.
Saddar Sanghla Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Shamshair said the suspect has been taken into custody who “confessed to having attacked the family over religious differences”.
“An investigation team has been constituted that will also check whether the suspect had attacked the house on his own or following somebody’s instructions,” Shamshair said.
Saleemuddin, an Ahmadi community’s spokesperson, confirmed that the incident took place when the members of the family gathered for prayers inside their home. “Ahmadis are not even safe inside their homes. They cannot perform their religious obligations inside the four walls of their home,” he said.
The spokesperson added Ahmadis were being murdered at their doorsteps as the state failed to provide them protection. “The attack was a direct result of a hate campaign being run unchecked in the country against the community,” he said.
Earlier, on Sunday, 82-year old Mahboob Khan was shot dead as he stood at a bus terminal in the city of Peshawar. A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya minority group said that he had been killed for his faith. “One after another, Ahmadis are being targeted in Peshawar while the government has repeatedly failed to protect and stop the violence against the members of the Ahmadiyya Community,” the spokesman said in a statement. He stated that it was the fourth such killing in the last four months.
Meanwhile, on October 5, a professor in Peshawar was shot and killed over religious matters. Naeem Khattak, an Ahmadi, was gunned down while he was returning home after giving a lecture.
The assailants, Farooq Maad, and a still unidentified gunman, were identified as Sunni Muslims. Police reports said Maad and the other gunman fired on Khattak, who was driving a car when shot, a day after they had a heated discussion over religious matters.
A report released by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group in July 2020 revealed that from 1984 to July 2020, at least 269 Ahmadi Muslims have been killed “on the ground of [their] faith.”
According to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List, Pakistan is fifth in the world’s worst country when it comes to religious persecution.
In 2018, the US State Department named Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom violations.