Sargodha ATC sentences man to death for killing bank manager over blasphemy allegations

Published June 30, 2021
An anti-terrorism court in Sargodha sentenced on Wednesday a man to death after finding him guilty of murdering his employer over blasphemy allegations last year. — Creative Commons/ File
An anti-terrorism court in Sargodha sentenced on Wednesday a man to death after finding him guilty of murdering his employer over blasphemy allegations last year. — Creative Commons/ File

An anti-terrorism court in Sargodha on Wednesday sentenced a man to death after finding him guilty of murdering his employer over blasphemy allegations last year.

The convict, Ahmed Nawaz, who was posted as a security guard at the National Bank of Pakistan branch in Quaidabad tehsil of Punjab's Khushab district, had shot dead the branch manager, Malik Imran Hanif, in November last year.

The guard had subsequently claimed to have killed Hanif over committing blasphemy, with a video circulating on social media in which he could be heard saying that the deceased manager had "insulted the prophet".

Other videos shared on Twitter showed the guard being greeted by a crowd of supporters after killing the manager. The security guard and the mob then raised slogans as they walked on the street.

The suspect was then joined by leaders of a religious group, all of whom raised slogans and addressed supporters from the rooftop of the Quaidabad Police Station. Police personnel could be seen standing nearby, recording videos.

In another video, a maternal uncle of the deceased manager had said that the security guard had shot dead Hanif due to a personal issue. He had also denied the suspect's claim that Hanif had insulted any prophet.

Police had later arrested Nawaz and charged him for the murder under the anti-terrorism law. At the time, Khushab District Police Officer (DPO) retired Capt Tariq Wilayat had told Dawn.com that the security guard and the manager had been quarrelling for some time. The guard was reportedly fired a few months ago; he was subsequently rehired and had an argument with Hanif a few days ago, the officer had said.

On Wednesday, the ATC found Nawaz guilty under Sections 302 (Punishment of qatl-i-amd) and 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 7 (Punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Additionally, the court sentenced the convict to two years' additional punishment, besides imposing two fines of Rs500,000 and Rs100,000, respectively.

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