A Pakistani man accused of blasphemy has been shot dead in a courtroom in Pakistan’s northern city of Peshawar as he awaited the start of his hearing.
The 47-year-old victim, named Tahir Ahmad Naseem, had been in prison since his arrest two years ago, allegedly after claiming he was a prophet.
He was accused of having violated Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty for certain offenses.
Naseem was shot six times in front of the judge during his hearing at a high-security complex next to the Peshawar high court on Wednesday.
His 24-year-old attacker, identified as Khalid Khan, was subsequently arrested.
“The culprit accepts responsibility for killing him, and says that he killed him for having committed blasphemy,” said police official Ijaz Ahmed. “[The suspect] has been arrested from the scene.”
It was not immediately clear how the assailant managed to get into the court amid tight security but senior police officer Mansur Amaan said he might have pulled the gun out of a policeman’s holster.
The Wednesday incident was the latest violence associated with Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
The blasphemy laws in Pakistan have raised concerns among rights activists and some politicians, who say it is often exploited by extremists or those who want to settle personal scores.
Critics also say hundreds of people languish in jails under false blasphemy charges. In most cases, even unproven allegations frequently stir mob violence and bloodshed.
Hundreds of cases of criminal blasphemy are filed across Pakistan each year. Dozens of people, including lawyers, defendants, and judges, have been murdered in Pakistan over blasphemy allegations since 1990.
Source: Press TV