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Pakistan: Teenager kills 55-year-old Shia man over ‘blasphemy’ against Prophet Muhammad; second murder in four days

Speaking with PTI, a senior police officer stated that the minor seminary student stabbed 55-year-old Nazir Hussain Shah to death after being incited by his father and uncle’s remarks that the victim spoke against the companions of Prophet Muhammad.

A teenager stabbed a man to death for allegedly speaking against the companions of Prophet Muhammad in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police said on Monday (24th June). The victim killed for alleged blasphemy belonged to the Shia minority Muslim community. As per reports, the 14-year-old accused was instigated by his uncle and father who is a Maulvi at a Sunni mosque. The incident occurred on Sunday in Kunjah, Gujrat, which is approximately 170 km from Pakistan’s capital Lahore.

Speaking with PTI, a senior police officer stated that the minor seminary student stabbed 55-year-old Nazir Hussain Shah to death after being incited by his father and uncle’s remarks. The father of the accused works as a prayer leader at a Sunni mosque. His father and uncle had told him that the victim Shah would often speak against the companions of the Prophet.

The police officer said, “Getting motivated by the words of his father and uncle, the enraged teenager took a knife from his house and confronted Shah on Sunday afternoon, stabbing him multiple times and killing him on the spot. The boy then fled the scene.” Police have formed a team to arrest the minor accused. 

It is pertinent to note that Pakistani outlet Dawn has reported the case as a killing over a “sectarian argument”. A case has been registered against the minor accused, his uncle and his father. Based on the complaint deceased’s brother Shabeer Hussain Shah, has been booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. 

Local and police sources stated that the prime suspect seems to be a religious fanatic. It is pertinent to note that the recent killing is the second blasphemy-related murder in the Islamic Republic in four days and the third case within a month.

Blasphemy-related murder on the rise in Pakistan

Earlier on 20th June night, a mob of frenzied Muslims lynched a man, after accusing him of desecrating the Quran in the Madyan area in Swat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

As per reports, the victim was a native of Sialkot district in Punjab province of Pakistan and had been on a visit to Swat as a tourist. The Muslim mob alleged that he set fire to some pages of the Quran and used it as a pretext to carry out his lynching.

It is pertinent to note that the Swat police had initially taken the ‘blasphemy accused’ into its custody to prevent any untoward law and order. However, the frenzied mob charged at the police station dragged out the victim and took him away. The victim was then lynched and his body was set on fire (torched). A video of the disturbing incident went viral on social media on Thursday (June 20th night).

Nearly a month earlier, in May, an elderly Christian man named Nazir Masih was lynched by a frenzied Muslim mob over dubious allegations of Toheen-e-Mazhab (blasphemy). The incident took place in Mujahid Colony in Sargodha city in Punjab province of Pakistan.

The Muslim mob vandalised Masih’s house, looted his factory and set him ablaze over rumours that he burnt pages of the Quran. In reality, the victim was acting out of goodwill and that cost him his life.

‘No Minority is safe in Pakistan, killed over false allegations’: Pakistan Defence Minister admits in Parliament

On Sunday (23rd June), Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaja Asif admitted that no minority group is safe in Pakistan. In the Pakistani Parliament, he added that Pakistan is facing a global embarrassment. 

Expressing concern over the daily killings of minorities, Khawaja said, “Every day, minorities are being killed. They are not safe under the guise of Islam. Pakistan is facing global embarrassment. Even smaller Muslim sects are not safe in Pakistan, which is a disgraceful situation. Those who have been killed so far did not have any evidence linking them to blasphemy; rather, these killings seem to stem from personal vendettas.”

Nonetheless, Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament, the National Assembly passed a resolution on Sunday condemning the recent incidents of mob lynching. According to a Dawn report, at least 2,120 people are reported to have been accused of committing blasphemy between 1987 and 2022. The USCIRF 2023 report said, “Religious minorities were subject to frequent attacks and threats, including accusations of blasphemy, targeted killings, lynchings, mob violence, forced conversions, sexual violence against women and girls, and desecration of houses of worship and cemeteries.”

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