SHEIKHUPURA: A man facing blasphemy charges and lodged in a police lock-up in Nankana district was shot dead on Friday by a teenager disguised in police uniform.

Police said the assailant introduced himself as Mubashir and told officers at the Sharqpur police station that he wanted to see Khalil, 60.

He was given access to Khalil, but he shot him dead after a brief conversation.

Nankana’s District Police Officer Afzaal Kousar told Dawn that the Sharqpur SHO and a constable who was posted as guard at the time of the killing had been suspended for negligence of duty.

He said the assailant, 18-year-old Saim Mubashir, was a seminary student. He was overpowered by policemen soon after he had shot Khalil.

The deceased was a member of the Ahmadi community and was among six people named in a blasphemy case on May 11. Hailing from Sajowal village, near Sharqpur, he and the other accused men allegedly thrashed shopkeeper Syed Riaz Hussain Shah and tore an Islamic calendar.

The shopkeeper immediately approached local leaders of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, who mounted a protest and blocked the Lahore-Sharqpur road for about five hours. They lifted the blockade only after police officers registered a case against the six suspects under blasphemy laws.

The Sharqpur police later arrested Khalil, but the other accused are still at large.

Reuters adds: According to Saleemuddin, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, Khalil and three other members of his community had asked the shopkeeper to remove “inflammatory stickers denouncing their faith”. In retaliation, the shopkeeper filed blasphemy charges against the four men.

He said the police had told him that the assailant, a high school student, had been arrested.

He added that the lapse in security should be investigated as soon as possible.

The killing of Khalil, a father of four, was the second murder involving the blasphemy laws in as many weeks.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2014

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