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Man Who Killed Alleged Blasphemer Hailed As Hero In Court Appearance

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Khalid Khan — the man who murdered an alleged blasphemer, Tahir Ahmed Naseem, in a Peshawar courtroom in front of a judge — received a hero’s reception during his court appearance, reveal pictures circulating on social media. Taking selfies with him, people showered Khalid with kisses, hugs and praises, calling him a ‘lion of Islam’ for shooting Tahir Naseem to death during a hearing in his blasphemy case.

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History Of Blasphemy Accusations On Naseem

Tahir Ahmed Naseem had been in police custody since 2018, when a teenager named Awais Malik – a madrassa student from Peshawar – accused him of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The accusation of him having committed blasphemy by claiming to be a new ‘last’ prophet, a ‘Messiah sent by God’, came after Naseem whilst living in the United States talked with Awais in an online call. These claims were  in direct violation of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, that in some cases, can carry the death penalty for certain offences.

Tahir got accused of violating sections 295-A, 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistani penal code. These deal with blasphemy against Islam, criminalizing him among other things and for, “defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”. According to the Ahmadi community leader, Naseem was born into the Ahmadi sect but eventually left the sect and claimed to be a prophet himself. Her further suggested that Naseem had been mentally ill and that this illness led him to make these claims.

After his death, the American authorities expressed their condolences with Tahir Naseem, which revealed to people unaware that Naseem was an American citizen. They urged Pakistan to take ‘immediate action to prevent such tragedies from happening again’.

Nation Hails Khalid As A Hero

After police took the suspected shooter – Khalid – into custody, he claimed responsibility for murdering the alleged blasphemer. Police official Ijaz Ahmed stated that, “The culprit accepts responsibility for killing him, and says that he killed him for having committed blasphemy. [The suspect] has been arrested from the scene.”

A video that showed him sitting on a courtroom bench while being held by police officers went viral on social media. In said video, he is heard saying that Naseem was ‘an enemy of Islam and an enemy of Pakistan’. He further said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) told him in his dream to kill Naseem. Whilst it was unclear how Khalid brought a gun into the courtroom, especially when there are high security details in place in such cases, he said in a statement that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave him the gun with which he killed Naseem.

People started praising Khalid’s ‘courage’ and ‘bravery’ for taking matters into his own hands and murdering the blasphemer. Putting titles such as “Ghazi” and “Lion Of Islam” on him, the nation started claiming that he saved ‘Islam’ .

Khalid was even hailed as a hero in his courtroom appearance for shooting Naseem, receiving kisses and hugs. People also took selfies with him like a celebrity.

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Along with all this, thousands also rallied in Peshawar to express solidarity with Khalid.

Misuse Of Blasphemy Accusations And Extremism

Instances like this speak volumes on how the country’s blasphemy laws are misused by extremists to justify their own twisted views of religion or as a means to their own personal gain. Now with people glorifying the person who commits such a deed, others in the country are horrified thinking about what the future will await if things continue like this. If glorification of murder continued like these, minorities will soon have no rights AT ALL as compared to the less they are forced to have nowadays.

Such a concern was expressed by former actor – Hamza Ali Abbasi – where he appealed to people and agencies to not ‘glorify murderers’. He also warned to take a stand against this or be prepared for a ‘turbulent time ahead’.

Even senior PTI leader – Haleem Adil – who was on the receiving end of backlash by many people for expressing solidarity with the shooter spoke that no one will be allowed to murder in cold blood, ‘regardless of beliefs.’

Human Rights Activist, Gulalai Ismail, also commented on this, saying;

“The religious extremism in Pakistan has destructed the social fabric of our society way beyond repair.”

What is your stance on this? Are you in favor of what the ‘hero’ Khalid did or against the ‘extremism’? Let us know in the comments!

 

Read alsoIslamabad Zoo’s Lions Die During Transport, Police Files Case Against Caretakers

 

 

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