LAHORE: Okara police on Wednesday arrested a suspect allegedly involved in killing a young man belonging to the Ahmadiyya community on Tuesday evening.

Abdul Salam, 33, a father of three, was on his way back home from the field when a seminary student, Hafiz Ali Raza alias Mulazim Husain, attacked him with a knife. The suspect stabbed Salam several times in the chest and abdomen, injuring him critically.

Victim’s uncle Zafar Iqbal tried to stop the suspect but he managed his escape. Salam died instantly.

A police contingent reached the spot and shifted the body for autopsy.

Chochak police registered a case under section 302 (punishment of qatl­e­amd) and section 109 (punishment of abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on the complaint of the victim’s uncle.

Salam’s uncle Iqbal said Raza is believed to be a member of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). He said Salam did not have any enmity.

He said the Ahmadi families living in Okara district were feeling highly insecure after the incident and demanded that the police arrest the suspect and provide security to their community.

Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesperson Saleemuddin told Dawn that attacks on Ahmadis were increasing and it had become more difficult for Ahmadis to do even basic things like running their business or going to their work.

Okara District Police Officer (DPO) Faisal Gulzar told this reporter that the suspect was taken into custody and was being interrogated.

He said initial investigation revealed the possibility of personal revenge behind the murder, however, police were also investigating the incident on religious grounds.

HRCP: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the killing.

The commission tweeted: “The brutal murder of an Ahmadi man in Okara, who was reportedly stabbed to death by a seminary student, serves to remind us just how precarious the lives of religious minorities have become. Until the rising tide of religiosity is stemmed and better protection mechanisms put in place, they will remain lesser citizens. This is unacceptable and the perpetrators must be brought to book.”

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022

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