Hate speech on Geo TV leads to killing of an Ahmadi man in Gujranwala

Gunmen in a Punjab village shot dead a member of the Ahmadi religious minority on Saturday, five days after a Muslim leader denounced Ahmadis on a popular television show.

“Lucman Ahmad- who was in his 20s- left his house for his agriculture farm on Gujranwala-Hafizabad road yesterday morning, when two unidentified motorcyclists intercepted him and opened fire at him, killing him on the spot,” Saleemuddin, spokesperson for Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, said on Sunday.

Kot Ladha SHO Malik Fayyaz Ahmed said Shahzad had been shot in the head. Ahmed said Shahzad was the only Ahmadi in his family and his entire family had nursed a grudge against him for converting to Ahmadiyyat.

On Monday, Muslim cleric Syed Arif Shah Owaisi appeared on Geo TV’s popular morning television show “Subh e Pakistan” which is hosted by controversial Islamic televangelist Aamir Liaquat Hussain.

“This enemy is a common enemy and is an enemy of all of Pakistan. And this enemy is the sect of Qadiyani,” Owaisi said, using a derogatory term for Ahmadis.

“They are the ones blaspheming against the Holy Prophet (PBUH). All us Muslims should recognise that enemy.”

Saturday’s killing was the second time Hussain’s show has hosted religious leaders denouncing Ahmadis. In 2008, he hosted scholars who called for the Ahmadis to be killed. Within a day, two prominent Ahmadis had been shot dead.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan. Scores of people have been lynched after being accused of blasphemy.

The killing prompted massive outrage on social media, with Pakistanis using the hashtag #AmirLiaqatSpreadingViolence to place the blame on the morning talk show for declaring war on Ahmadis.

Ahmedis are considered heretics by many conservative Muslims and are frequently attacked, accused of blasphemy and subjected to discrimination in education and the workplace. They are also banned from going on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

In 1974, a Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and made it possible to jail Ahmadis for “posing as a Muslim” or “offending a Muslim’s feelings”.