A professor belonging to the Ahmadiya community was shot dead in a targeted attack in Peshawar on Monday, allegedly over his religious beliefs, police and officials said.
Police identified the deceased as Prof Dr Naeemuddin Khattak, who was a faculty member at the Government Superior Science College Peshawar.
Naeemuddin, 57, whose death coincided with International Teachers Day being observed today, held a PhD degree in zoology, according to the Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan.
Bhana Mari police, in whose limits the incident took place, registered a first information report (FIR) on the complaint of the deceased’s brother.
According to the FIR, the complainant told police that he had paid a visit to his brother Naeemuddin at the latter’s college and the duo later left for home.
Naeemuddin was driving his car and his brother was on his motorcycle. While they were passing through the Wazir Bagh area at around 1:30pm, two men riding a motorcycle stopped the professor’s car, opened fire on him and fled, the FIR said.
Moharrar Ashoor Khan said the professor received five bullets and died on the spot.
The complainant nominated a friend of the deceased who is a lecturer at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, and another man as suspects behind the murder.
According to the FIR, Naeemuddin and his alleged killer (the lecturer) had a heated argument over a religious issue a day earlier.
Police identified the suspects based on eyewitness testimony and claimed to be making efforts for their arrest.
In a statement, Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesperson Saleemuddin said Naeemuddin was targeted due to his Ahmadi faith, adding that the deceased had previously been facing “threats and boycott”.
The professor has left behind a widow, two sons and three daughters.
“Over the past few months, there has been an increase in faith-based attacks on Ahmadis,” Saleemuddin said. “In Peshawar, an organised hate campaign has been launched against Ahmadis which has resulted in the killing of Ahmadis.”
“The government has failed in providing protection to Ahmadis,” he added, urging state institutions to take steps for the community’s protection.
Uptick in violence
Peshawar has seen an uptick in violence against the community in recent months.
On July 29, an elderly man, who was standing trial on blasphemy charges, was shot dead inside a courtroom in Peshawar. It later turned out that the deceased had reportedly left the Ahmadi community.
On August 12, a member of the Ahmadi community was shot dead in the busy Dabgari Garden area of Peshawar.
On September 9, a charged mob armed with batons and stones surrounded the house of an Ahmadi family on the outskirts of Peshawar over suspicions that members of the family were preaching their faith in the area. The family was later moved to a safe place by police.