ANI Photo | Pakistan: Ahmadiyya leader shot dead in Bahawalpur’s Hasilpur

The Ahmadiyya community’s President was shot dead by unknown assailants in the Hasilpur district of Pakistan’s Bahawalpur on Monday morning, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
Tahir Iqbal (54) was shot during his morning walk in the Chak-84 village when two motorcyclists opened fire at him. He died on the spot, according to a Dawn report.
According to the police, Tahir Iqbal’s body was taken to a morgue for autopsy and a case was registered against two unidentified suspects. An application submitted for the registration of the first information report mentioned that the assailants fled from the spot.
Speaking to Dawn, Bahawalpur District Police Officer (DPO) Syed Abbas Shah said the initial probe suggested that the reason behind the murder was not religious but connected to ‘honour’.
According to the official, Iqbal, a landlord was in a relationship with a woman in the village and her relatives had warned him several times to end the relationship, according to the Dawn report.
DPO Shah speculated that the woman’s relatives might have killed Iqbal “in the name of honour.” He said that police was also finding whether there was a possibility of a “religious angle.” He further stated that police was carrying out raids to arrest the suspects and an investigation was being conducted.
The Ahmadiyya community has condemned the killing and stressed that Tahir Iqbal’s death was the result of the ongoing wave of hatred and violence against them in Pakistan.
Ahmadiyya community’s spokesperson said they had received death threats from extremist groups. It has called on authorities to take action to protect their community and bring the culprits to justice.
The community faces frequent attacks and persecution in Pakistan.
Earlier in February, a mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyya community in the Kotli district of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was vandalized.
Sources reveal that a group of 50 people equipped with hammers, shovels, and sticks formed a mob and stormed the mosque, injuring eight Ahmadi worshippers, including five women, and destroying all of the mosque’s four minarets.
Earlier in January, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called for setting up a statutory national commission for the rights of minorities according to the recommendation of the 2014 Supreme Court Jillani judgement, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
The demand was raised during a national roundtable held by the HRCP. HRCP’s director Farah Zia recalled that the national commission for minorities that was established in 2020 failed to meet the demands of minorities. She stressed the need for an autonomous commission formed along the lines of the Paris Principles, Dawn reported.
Mahmood Iftikhar from the Ahmadiyya community stressed that the commission must be inclusive of the rights of vulnerable groups like Ahmadis, who had faced numerous desecrations of their sites of worship in 2023.

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