Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - A prominent lawyer and human rights defender, Malik Saleem Latif, who worked ly in Nankana Sahib in Punjab, was gunned down yesterday, March 30, while he was riding a bike driven by his son a few meters away from their home. They were on their way to the Nankana Sahib district courts. The lawyer was a leader of the Ahmadiyya community, a Muslim religious minority that is persecuted in Pakistan. The son was injured but suffered minor injuries. The attack was claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) al-Alami terrorist group that in a statement said that Latif was killed "for spreading Ahmadi beliefs in the region". The police in Nankana said they had arrested a suspect named Rashid. The same members of this Islamist group have repeatedly threatened to kill Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, who survived a similar attack months ago on his way home with his family from Lahore to Bhai Pheru.
As leader of the Ahmadiyya community in Nankana Sahib, Latif was the target of numerous militant groups. This was the first targeted attack on a prominent member of the Ahmadiyya community in 2017. A report about the persecution faced by Ahmadi, just published, said that six Muslim Ahmadis were killed for their faith last year. The Ahmadis are considered "non-Muslims" and "heretics" and the Council of the Union of Ulema of Pakistan has issued several rulings against them.
Saleemuddin, community spokesman, noted that the government had failed to implement the national action plan to stop those who "incite hatred against Ahmadis. As many as 700 articles that fuel violence were published in national newspapers last year".
In December last year the Ahmadiya mosque in Dolmial, in Chakwal (Punjab) district, was attacked by a crowd of about a thousand people, Sunni Muslims armed with stones entered the place of worship, taking advantage of the worshipers present.
The Ahmadiya is a Sunni Islamic religious movement, born in the Indian subcontinent and spread internationally in over 200 countries. The founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), in 1889 claimed to be the reformer of Islam. The primary task of the new prophet was to revive the peaceful message of Islam. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2017)