November 5th, 2020 

Bureau Report


LAHORE

A security guard at a bank shot dead the manager after accusing him of blasphemy in the Quaidabad tehsil of Khushab. However, the family of the slain bank manager Imran Hanif denied that he had committed any blasphemy, insisting that the deceased deeply loved the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and that the guard Ahmed Nawaz had killed Imran Hanif because of a personal grudge.

Khushab District Police Officer (DPO) retired Capt Tariq Wilayat told reporters it would be premature to comment on the motive behind the murder, but confirmed that the security guard, who was arrested after the incident, had claimed to have killed Hanif over blasphemy.

DPO Wilayat said police were investigating the incident, however according to initial reports the security guard and the manager had been quarreling for some time. The guard was reportedly dismissed from his job a few months ago, but he was subsequently rehired. A few days ago he had an argument, the officer told journalists.

How did the killing happen?

In close circuit videos from the bank cameras widely-shared on Twitter, the guard is seen sitting on a chair near the entrance. He calmly stands up from his seat and fires two shots from his rifle at Imran Hanif, the bank manager, who is sitting on a desk in front of him. Another guard rushes towards him and takes away his rifle.

As the guard, Ahmad Nawaz was being arrested, he started chanting slogans of love for the prophet (PBUH). It drew the attention of locals who rushed to the scene and started hugging the guard in support. Later people, including from religious groups, surrounded the police station where Nawaz was being held in the town of Khushab, to express their support for the guard.

Mob engulfs suspect en route to the police station

In videos shared on social media, the suspect is seen chanting slogans as he is joined by the leaders of a religious group, all of whom raised slogans and addressed supporters from the rooftop of the Quaidabad Police Station. Police personnel could be seen standing nearby in the recording videos. The DPO is also seen addressing the mob, assuring them of a just and fair investigation into the allegations of blasphemy.

In another video shared on social media, the guard could be heard saying that the deceased manager had “insulted the Prophet” ( PBUH) as he sips a cup of tea surrounded by his supporters.

According to news reports, police sources have expressed doubt over the guard’s claim that he had killed the manager over blasphemy. They suggested that the guard had committed the murder due to personal grievances.

Imran Hanif had “Boycott France” on his profile picture

In another video, a maternal uncle of the deceased manager stated that the security guard had shot dead Hanif due to a personal issue. He denied the suspect’s claim that Hanif had insulted any religious leader, saying they were Muslims and not Ahmadis. He demanded that the murder be investigated on merit and the suspect be brought to justice.

In a widely shared post, said to be his last from his Facebook account on October 26, Imran Hanif profile picture has the slogan of Boycott France while expressing his love and allegiance to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The last FB profile picture

Hanif, who succumbed to his at Lahore’s Services Hospital, was laid to rest in Quaidabad. A large number of people attended the funeral prayers. Police had not shared or made public the first investigation report of the murder. Police sources said the investigation of the suspect was still underway at the police station.

Students try to lynch classmate at Kohat university

In a separate incident, a mob of students in Kohat University of Science and Technology tried to lynch a fellow student after accusing him of posting alleged blasphemous remarks on his Facebook last month.

The students were enraged after they found the accused in the classroom in violation of an agreement reached with the administration, that he would be expelled from the university. The students got hold of the accused and started thrashing and kicking him, leaving him injured.

Vice-Chancellor Dr. Tasleem Hussain rescued him and took him to his office. Later, the VC called the police to the campus to control the situation. Succumbing to the pressure, the Vice-Chancellor issued a notification expelling the student from the varsity.

Human rights groups say blasphemy laws are often misused to persecute minorities or even against Muslims to settle personal rivalries. Such accusations can end up in lynchings or street vigilantism.

Up to 80 people are known to be imprisoned in the country on such charges — half of whom face life in prison or the death penalty — according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In July, a US citizen of Pakistani origin on trial over blasphemy allegations in Peshawar was shot dead in a courtroom by a teenager who told bystanders he killed him for insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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