Ahmadi Man Gunned Down In Hasilpur For His Faith: HRCP

A fact-finding mission found that the Bahawalpur target killing of an Ahmadi man in March was faith-based, and police failed to curb clergy's hate speech.

Ahmadi Man Gunned Down In Hasilpur For His Faith: HRCP

An Ahmadi community leader, Tahir Iqbal, 54 was target killed in a religiously motivated attack in Chak-84 of Bahawalpur on March 4, contrary to the police report that it was an “honor-killing”, concluded a fact-finding mission by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). 

District Police Officer had initially termed the incident an ‘honor killing’ insisting Iqbal had an illicit relationship with a woman due to which her relatives targeted him. The mission found the accused by now had confessed to killing Iqbal for his religious beliefs. The police informed HRCP that a local cleric’s comment on killing Ahmadis being a “short-cut to paradise” was a motive for murder. The said cleric is identified in as “Razaq”, who had been inciting residents against the Ahmadiyya for a while. There are ten Ahamdi families residing in Chak-84, Hasilpur, and their source of livelihood is farming. The Ahmadiyya members informed the mission of police’s inaction despite their complaints against Razzaq’s incitement prior to Iqbal’s killing.

The concerned Station House Officer (SHO) also told the Ahmadiyya complainants to avoid mentioning the killing was religiously motivated before the investigation began. The police also assured the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Bahawalpur President of the swift probe, but that it would not disclose it was a faith-based crime.

The mission observed that police was present on occasions when Razzaq had incited against the Ahmadiyya, and yet did not take action. 

HRCP has called for an independent investigation into the murder, and for the law enforcement to not discredit religious bigotry as a motive for crime. Any gathering where incitement for hate and violence takes place must be dealt with in accordance with law going forward the Commission recommends.