Ahmadi professor killed in Peshawar on World Teachers' Day
by Shafique Khokhar

He was hit by five bullets on his way home. Two people are suspected; he had had an argument with them over religion. Attacks against Ahmadis, Pakistan’s most discriminated minority, are up. The Ahmadi community calls for justice and protection. Others call for the removal of religious hatred from school textbooks.

Peshawar (AsiaNews) – An Ahmadi teacher was murdered yesterday, World Teachers' Day.

Naeemuddin Khattak, 56, a leader in the Awami Workers Party, taught at the State College of Higher Sciences. Around 1.30 pm (local time), as he made his way home, a stranger shot him five times.

Taken to hospital, he died shortly after from his injuries. He leaves a wife, two sons and three daughters. The victim's brother filed a report with the Bhana Mari Police Station. He named one of his brother’s friends, a lecturer at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, and another man as possible suspects.

According to the police report, it appears that the day before his death, the Ahmadi teacher had had a heated argument over religious issues with the two suspects.

Ahmadis are considered heretical by Sunni Muslims, Pakistan’s majority religious group. They number around four million out of a population of more than 216 million. According to Human Rights Watch, they are the country’s most discriminated minority.

Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesman Saleem Ud Din extended his condolences to the Khattak family; in a tweet, he urged all Pakistanis to pray for the professor's family and for the Ahmadi community, which is increasingly the victim of persecution and violence.

Calling for justice for Khattak, Ud Din urges the authorities to take practical steps to stop the ongoing persecution. He notes that attacks on his people have increased in recent months.

In Peshawar, a real hate campaign was unleashed against Ahmadis, whom the government has failed to protect. On 15 July, with the help of the police, some Ahmadi graves were desecrated in Gujranwala, a village in Pakistan Punjab.

According to Ali Wazir, a Pashtun member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, the Ahmadi professor was targeted and killed for religious reasons. "We condemn this barbarism,” he said.

Mariyam Kashif Anthony, a Christian social activist and teacher, also turned to the country’s leaders, asking them to stop the ongoing wave of religious violence and promote instead peace and harmony among all Pakistanis.

To do this, she suggests including peaceful content in school textbooks and remove any reference to religious hatred.