Dr. Naeemduddin Khattak, a member of the Ahmediyya community, was killed on Monday in a targeted shooting in Peshawar, according to police. This is allegedly a faith-based attack.
The deceased, 57, was identified as a faculty member at the Government Superior Science College Peshawar. According to a member of Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan, he held a PhD degree in zoology.
The first information report (FIR) of the incident was registered by the deceased’s brother to Bhana Mari police, under whose jurisdiction the crime occurred. The FIR states that the complainant had visited Dr. Khattack at his college, and the two were leaving for home together when the attack took place.
According to the FIR, Dr. Khattak was travelling by car while his brother was driving a motorcycle. At 1:30pm, as they passed through the Wazir Bagh area, two men arrived on a motorcycle and forced the professor to stop his car. They then opened fire on him, and immediately fled. Moharrar Ashoor Khan stated that the professor was shot five times, and died on the spot.
The deceased’s brother nominated an acquaintance of the professor, who is a lecturer as the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, alongside another unidentified man, as the suspects behind the killing. As per the FIR, Dr. Khattak and his alleged murderer, the lecturer, had argued a day earlier over a religious issue. It is speculated that the heated debate lent the lecturer a faith-based motive for murder.
Suspects of the crime have been identified by the police based on eyewitness testimony. Police claims to be making efforts to enforce their arrests.
In a statement issued by Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Pakistan, spokesperson Saleemuddin claimed that Dr. Khattak was targeted for his Ahmedi faith. He also stated that the professor had faced “threats and boycott” in the past because of his faith.
“Over the past few months, there has been an increase in faith-based attacks on Ahmadis,” claimed Saleemuddin. “In Peshawar, an organised hate campaign has been launched against Ahmadis which has resulted in the killing of Ahmadis.”
In an appeal to state institutions to take responsibility for such incidents, he further added, “The government has failed in providing protection to Ahmadis.”
Dr. Khattak’s targeted killing is the latest in a series of violent attacks against members of the Ahmedi community in Peshawar.
In July, an elderly man standing trial on blasphemy charges was shot dead inside a Peshwar courtroom. He was a former member of the Ahmedi community. In August, another member of the Ahmedi community was shot dead in Peshawar’s Dabgari Garden area. In September, a mob armed with stones and batons lay siege to the house of an Ahmedi family in Peshawar’s outskirts. The family was relocated to safety by police.
In October, Dr. Naseeruddin Khattak was murdered on Teacher’s Day.