Days after an elderly Ahmadiyya man was shot dead in front of the judge in a local court in the Peshawar city of Pakistan, thousands of radical Islamists hit the streets to express solidarity with the assassin. The victim, Tahir Ahmed Naseem, was a US citizen and had been facing trial under blasphemy charges for allegedly ‘insulting’ the Muslim Prophet Muhammad since 2018. Following the incident, the police arrested the killer Khalid Khan.
Defying social distancing guidelines amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, thousands of Pakistani men who believe in the death penalty for blasphemy took out a procession in support of the killer of Ahmed. With banners in hand, the radical Islamists chanted slogans of ‘Allah hu Akbar’ and ‘Naara-e-Takbeer’ and hailed the assassin.
Thousands gathered in Peshawar to show solidarity with the killer of blasphemy accused American citizen Tahir Ahmed Naseem. pic.twitter.com/llnQD9vxlm— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) August 1, 2020
Earlier, the killer was praised as a ‘hero’ on social media, people had hailed him as the ‘Lion of Islam’ for killing the ‘blasphemer’. Claiming that he saved ‘Islam’, many in Pakistan have been justifying Khalid Khan’s heinous crime as an act of bravery and hailing him as some sort of a ‘hero’ for killing an unarmed elderly man inside a courtroom.
The killing of Tahir Ahmed
A lawyer, who witnessed the incident, said that a case had been registered against the deceased under blasphemy laws. The accused was brought to court from Peshawar Central Jail. “During the hearing of the case, the complainant said that the accused was an Ahmadi and asked him to recite the Kalima-e-Tayyaba,” the lawyer said, adding that the complainant then fired at the elderly man and killed him. Tahir Ahmed Naseem was on trial for ‘insulting’ the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. He was in jail since 2018.
Reportedly, the court is situated in a high-security zone in the cantonment area next to the provincial assembly building, the Peshawar High Court, the chief minister’s secretariat, and Governor House. It is not clear how the armed attacker managed to get into the court despite the court is situated in such a highly secured area.