Gunmen in a Punjab village shot dead a member of the Ahmadi religious minority on Saturday, five days after a Muslim leader denounced Ahmadis on a popular television show.
Luqman Ahad Shehzad was shot in the back of the head near Bhiri Shah Rehman village, a small community of Ahmadis in the Gujranwala district, said Saleemud Din, a spokesman of the community.
He is the eleventh person killed for being Ahmadi in Pakistan this year.
Should we be grateful the number is “only” eleven when it could be in the thousands? Or furious that it’s more than zero?
In 1984, a Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and made it possible to jail Ahmadis for “posing as a Muslim” or “offending a Muslim’s feelings”.
They are often denounced by Muslim clerics and targeted by violent extremists. Some clerics promise that killing Ahmadis earns the killer a place in heaven and distribute leaflets listing their home addresses.
So it’s pretty amazing that the number isn’t in the thousands.
Clerics who urge their listeners to kill people for adhering to the wrong religion? Not good people to listen to.
On Monday, Muslim leader Syed Arif Shah Owaisi appeared on a popular morning television show hosted by Pakistani host Aamir Liaquat Hussain.
“This enemy is a common enemy and is an enemy of all of Pakistan. And this enemy is the sect of Qadiyani,” Owaisi said, using a derogatory term for Ahmadis.
“They are the ones blaspheming against the holy prophet (pbuh). All us Muslims should recognise that enemy.”
Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan. Scores of people have been lynched after being accused of blasphemy.
So a popular tv show in Pakistan hosts someone who basically sends a message to watchers to kill a certain kind of person. Free speech.