Victim had just posted in favour of France boycott
A bank manager in Punjab’s Khushab was shot dead by a security guard who told the police he did it because of blasphemy.
The victim, identified as Malik Imran Hanif, was the manager of a bank in Quaidabad tehsil.
CCTV footage shows Hanif working at his desk when the attacker, Ahmed Nawaz, comes to him and sits at a bench reserved for clients. Another guard walks in and stands next to Hanif’s desk. Then suddenly, Nawaz gets up, points a gun at Hanif and opens fire. By the time the second guard reacts to restrain Nawaz, he has already fired three shots.
A number of people gathered outside grabbed Nawaz and handed him over to the police. Hanif was taken to hospital where he died.
According to Khushab District Police Officer Tariq Wilayat, Nawaz claimed that he shot Hanif because he was an Ahmadi and had blasphemed against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The DPO added that it was too early to say if this was the motive. Religious leaders in the district have formed a five-man committee to look into the matter.
Hanif’s brother has registered an FIR under Section 324 (attempt to murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code. He stated that Hanif and Nawaz had been quarrelling for a while. “The guard used to come late to work over which Hanif scolded him and called him out,” his statement said.
Hanif’s uncle told SAMAA TV that Nawaz had killed Hanif over personal grievances. “He’s using blasphemy charges to protect himself. My nephew never insulted the Prophet (pbuh) and we have no connection with Ahmadis.”
On October 26, days before the attack, Hanif updated the profile picture of his Facebook account with a filter to show support for the Boycott_France campaign against the publication of sacrilegious caricatures. The filter reads, “I love Muhammad (ﷺ). My ProphetMyHonor. May Allah Destroy France.” Hanif used to share religious posts on his Facebook timeline quite often.
Declaring others infidels in Islam: cleric consensus
Videos on Twitter showed Nawaz being greeted by a crowd of supporters after the crime took place. The men gathered outside the Quaidabad police station and demanded Nawaz be released. Additional police was called in from Mianwali for security.
Minawali DPO Mustansar Feroz Awan had to be sent to control the situation as Khushab DPO Tariq Wilayat was out of town. DPO Awan went Quaidabad Police Station and had to assure protesters that an impartial inquiry would be held.
Blasphemy cases elicit strong emotion in Pakistan. Often
people emerge to support men who kill over it. Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the
Council of Islamic Ideology, finds that this happens because people do not know
the teachings of Islam on the matter. The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional
body that advises lawmakers whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam.
“In Islam, no one can declare any person an infidel,” Qibla Ayaz told SAMAA Digital. In fact, clerics of all sects agreed upon this in January 2018 at the Paigham-e-Pakistan conference in Islamabad. “It is totally unacceptable in Islam for a certain group to take the law into its own hands, declare people infidels, start killing them in the name of commanding good and forbidding from evil.” The agreement stated also that, “Only the State has the right to implement punishments on citizens and regulate their characters in accordance with the law.”
The joint declaration issued at the end of the conference says, “It is the responsibility of an Aalim and Mufti to explain the Shari‘ah ruling in clear statements of infidelity, but to decide whether someone has committed infidelity is the prerogative of the judiciary.”
Blasphemy cases and convictions in 2020
Khairpur: Sajid Soomro, a professor of Sindhi literature at Shah Abdul Latif University, was arrested in June on charges of blasphemy.
Peshawar: A 57-year-old Ahmadi Muslim and US citizen Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot dead in July by a teenager in the court during his hearing on blasphemy charges. Naseem had allegedly “proclaimed prophethood” in 2018.
Lahore: A 37-year-old Christian named Asif Pervaiz, who had been in custody since 2013, was sentenced to death in September. He was accused of sending “blasphemous texts” to his former supervisor, Saeed Ahmed Khokar, at work. Pervaiz denied the allegations and said he was being forced to convert to Islam by Khokar.