Man from Ahmadi minority stabbed to death in Pakistan

Man from Ahmadi minority stabbed to death in Pakistan
The man was killed after he refused to raise slogans of an Islamist party. Police investigation has named no suspects yet.
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Ahmadis are regarded as heretical and are forbidden from calling themselves Muslims in Pakistan.[Getty Images]

A member of Pakistan's minority Ahmadi community was stabbed to death in the eastern town of Rabwah on Friday allegedly for refusing to chant Islamist slogans, a community activist and police said.

Members of the long-persecuted Ahmadi community, who see themselves as an Islamic movement, face discrimination and violence in Pakistan over accusations their faith insults Islam.

"The accused approached Naseer Ahmed, 62, an Ahamdi by faith and asked him to raise slogans of an Islamist party. On Ahmad's refusal, he repeatedly stabbed and killed him on spot," Saleem ud Din, a spokesman for the minority group, told Reuters.

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Ahmadis, a group that originated in British-controlled India in the 19th century, are regarded as heretical by orthodox Muslims and forbidden from calling themselves Muslims in Pakistan or using Islamic symbols in their religious practices.

The deceased, an active member of the Ahmadi community, was standing at a bus stop for his usual Friday ritual of paying his respects at a graveyard, Din said.

"We are investigating the motive behind the murder, (the suspect's) links to any Islamist party has not been found yet," said Asad Rehman, a senior police officer in Chiniot district.

In May, a seminary student stabbed Abdul Salam, 33, a member of Ahamdi community in Okara district, a community activist told Reuters.

Religious discrimination has long been a problem in Pakistan, a mainly Sunni Muslim state of more than 200 million people, with attacks against Shia, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs in recent years.

Rights groups have expressed concern about the persecution of Ahmadis and say the government has not done anything to protect its minority citizens.

Community leaders say legislative moves in 2018 and anti-Ahmadi rhetoric during the elections have entrenched legalized hate.