An elderly man was killed during the hearing of a blasphemy case against him at the Peshawar Judicial Complex on Wednesday.
A case had been registered against the deceased under blasphemy laws. The accused was brought to court from Peshawar Central Jail.
Tahir Ahmed Naseem, 47, a resident of Pishtakhara, appeared before the court of Judge Shaukatullah when a man barged in and opened fire on him.
He was a US citizen and the US State Department’s Twitter account for South Asia tweeted about the incident.
“During the hearing of the case, the complainant said that the accused was an Ahmadi and asked him to recite the Kalima-e-Tayyaba,” according to a lawyer who was present in the courtroom at the time of the incident. He added that the complainant then fired at the elderly man and killed him.
The 24-year-old shooter, Khalid, was arrested by the police on the spot. He is said to be a resident of Board Bazaar.
The judicial complex is situated in a high-security zone on the main Khyber Road in the cantonment area where the provincial assembly building, the Peshawar High Court, chief minister’s secretariat and Governor House are also situated. Security at the main gate and inside the judicial complex is also high.
Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mohammad Ali Gandapur and SSP (Operations) Mansoor Aman visited the courtroom where the man was killed.
“At the moment we have little information but we have started investigation into the killing,” the CCPO said. Aman added that the weapon has also been recovered.
Police shifted the body of the deceased to the Khyber Medical University for post-mortem.
They said a first information report (FIR) had been registered against the deceased in 2018.
According to the FIR, the complainant alleged that the deceased belong to the Ahmadi community and “befriended him on Facebook” and in subsequent conversations, claimed that he was the “fourteenth Mujaddid”.
“He then invited me to have a discussion with him at a mall in the city where he started talking about his belief,” the complainant said in the FIR, going on to make more allegations.
The deceased was charged under 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) of the Pakistan Penal Code.