Monday, September 5, 2011

Suspected hate crime: Ahmadi man shot dead in Faisalabad

Suspected hate crime: Ahmadi man shot dead in Faisalabad

Published: September 5, 2011

The minority has been under constant attack even though it keeps a low profile. DESIGN: SAMAD SIDDIQUI


In a suspected incident of hate crime against minorities, unidentified attackers killed an Ahmadi man in Faisalabad late Saturday night.

Naseem Ahmad Butt, 55, was shot dead by four men as he lay sleeping inside his house in Muzaffar Colony. According to his brother Khalid Pervez Butt, at about 1am on Saturday, the attackers entered by climbing over the walls.

“The boys were between 20 and 25 years old. Three of them kept a watch on the door as one kicked my brother. When he was awake, the killer said ‘you are Ahmadi and liable to be killed’,” Khalid told The Express Tribune.

The attacker then shot Naseem in the chest while another bullet ruptured his kidney, Khalid said. “My brother was lying in a pool of blood when we saw him. The sound of him crying woke us up.”

A car and a bicycle were used in the attack, Khalid said, and the assailants fled from the main gate of the house.

The family rushed an unconscious Naseem to the Divisional Headquarter Hospital, where he succumbed to his bullet wounds at 8.30am on Sunday.

Naseem, who worked at a power loom factory, leaves behind his widow, four daughters and a son.

Constant threat

According to Khalid, Naseem and other members of their family were under constant threat by a group of extremists who had repeatedly threatened to kill them for their faith.

(Read: Ahmadis in Karachi – Pulpit pounding, barricades, prayers but no peace)

“My first cousin Naseer Butt was also killed in a similar fashion last year. Police has made no effort to trace his killers and the case has been swept under the carpet by being declared ‘blind murder’,” Khalid said.

However, in hope of assistance, Khalid has registered a case with the Samanabad Police for the murder of Naseem. A FIR under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code has been filed.

‘Hate crime’

An advocacy group based in Faisalabad has called Naseem’s murder hate crime and says it has contacted provincial and local police officials but in vain.

Over the past two years, as many as six Ahmadis have been killed in Faisalabad but no killer has been brought to book, said secretary of the secretary of the Faisalabad chapter of the Umoor-e-Aama Jama’at Ahmadiyya Mahmood Ahmad Shah.

“We have time and again contacted the Faisalabad police chief and other senior police officials throughout Punjab that a group of fanatics are threatening Ahmadis in the area.

A list of these names is being publicly circulated,” he said.

In June, Ahmad wrote an email to the province’s home secretary and police chief and Faisalabad’s regional police officer, following the distribution of pamphlets in the city that not only called Ahmadis wajibul qatl (liable to be killed) but also exhorted people to kill them to achieve martyrdom.

(Read: Targeting minorities – No friend to Ahmadis in Faisalabad)

The Punjab government’s record of protecting Ahmadis has been dismal.

In May last year, more than 88 people were killed in provincial capital Lahore when gunmen opened fire at two separate places of worship and, one year on, little progress has been made by investigators.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2011.

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