US state department condemns accused of blasphemy shot dead during court hearing in Peshawar
Islamabad: US state department condemns incident of an elderly man accused of blasphemy who was shot dead yesterday in a courtroom in Peshawar. State department urged Pakistan to take mediate action to stop these type of shameful acts.
We extend our condolences to the family of Tahir Naseem, the American citizen who was killed today inside a courtroom in Pakistan. We urge Pakistan to take immediate action and pursue reforms that will prevent such a shameful tragedy from happening again.
The victim, Tahir Ahmad Naseem, was an Ahmadi, a minority religious group declared non-Muslim in 1974.
The courthouse where the incident took place is located in a high-security zone on the main Khyber Road in the cantonment area that houses the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly, the Peshawar High Court, the Chief Minister’s secretariat and the Governor’s House.
Tahir Ahmad Naseem, who was shot six times, was accused of blasphemy because he claimed to be a prophet in 2018.
According to the First information Report (FIR), he belonged to the Ahmadi community. He befriended his accuser, Awais Malik on Facebook, from which he invited the latter to discuss his beliefs with him.
In the FIR, Naseem was charged under several sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, most notably 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).
The young killer, Khalid Khan, managed to enter the court and shoot at Tahir despite tight security. Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mohammad Ali Gandapur said the attacker was arrested on sight.