Malik-Imran-Hanif-Khushab
Photo courtesy: facebook.com/muhammadimran.hanif.52

A bank manager in Punjab’s Khushab was shot dead by a security guard who told the police he did it because of blasphemy.

The victim, identified as Malik Imran Hanif, was the manager
of a bank in Quaidabad tehsil.

CCTV footage shows Hanif working at his desk when the
attacker, Ahmed Nawaz, comes to him and sits at a bench reserved for clients.
Another guard walks in and stands next to Hanif’s desk. Then suddenly, Nawaz
gets up, points a gun at Hanif and opens fire. By the time the second guard
reacts to restrain Nawaz, he has already fired three shots.

A number of people gathered outside grabbed Nawaz and handed
him over to the police. Hanif was taken to hospital where he died.

According to Khushab District Police Officer Tariq Wilayat,
Nawaz claimed that he shot Hanif because he was an Ahmadi and had blasphemed
against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The DPO added that it was too early to say if
this was the motive. Religious leaders in the district have formed a five-man
committee to look into the matter.

Hanif’s brother has registered an FIR under Section 324
(attempt to murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code. He stated that Hanif and Nawaz
had been quarrelling for a while. “The guard used to come late to work over
which Hanif scolded him and called him out,” his statement said.

Hanif’s uncle told SAMAA TV that Nawaz had killed Hanif over
personal grievances. “He’s using blasphemy charges to protect himself. My
nephew never insulted the Prophet (pbuh) and we have no connection with
Ahmadis.”

On October 26, days before the attack, Hanif updated the
profile picture of his Facebook account with a filter to show support for the
Boycott_France campaign against the publication of sacrilegious caricatures.
The filter reads, “I love Muhammad (ﷺ). My ProphetMyHonor.
May Allah Destroy France.” Hanif used to share religious posts on his Facebook
timeline quite often.

Declaring others infidels in Islam: cleric consensus

Videos on Twitter showed Nawaz being greeted by a crowd of
supporters after the crime took place. The men gathered outside the Quaidabad
police station and demanded Nawaz be released. Additional police was called in
from Mianwali for security. 

Minawali DPO Mustansar Feroz Awan had to be sent to control
the situation as Khushab DPO Tariq Wilayat was out of town. DPO Awan went
Quaidabad Police Station and had to assure protesters that an impartial inquiry
would be held.

Blasphemy cases elicit strong emotion in Pakistan. Often
people emerge to support men who kill over it. Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the
Council of Islamic Ideology, finds that this happens because people do not know
the teachings of Islam on the matter. The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional
body that advises lawmakers whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam.
“In Islam, no one can declare any person an infidel,” Qibla Ayaz told SAMAA
Digital. In fact, clerics of all sects agreed upon this in January 2018 at the
Paigham-e-Pakistan conference in Islamabad. “It is totally unacceptable in
Islam for a certain group to take the law into its own hands, declare people
infidels, start killing them in the name of commanding good and forbidding from
evil.” The agreement stated also that, “Only the State has the right to
implement punishments on citizens and regulate their characters in accordance
with the law.”

The joint declaration issued at the end of the conference says, “It is the responsibility of an Aalim and Mufti to explain the Shari‘ah ruling in clear statements of infidelity, but to decide whether someone has committed infidelity is the prerogative of the judiciary.”

Blasphemy cases and convictions in 2020

Khairpur: Sajid Soomro, a professor of Sindhi literature at
Shah Abdul Latif University, was arrested in June on charges of blasphemy.

Peshawar: A 57-year-old Ahmadi Muslim and US citizen Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot dead in July by a teenager in the court during his hearing on blasphemy charges. Naseem had allegedly “proclaimed prophethood” in 2018.

Lahore: A 37-year-old Christian named Asif Pervaiz, who had been in custody since 2013, was sentenced to death in September. He was accused of sending “blasphemous texts” to his former supervisor, Saeed Ahmed Khokar, at work. Pervaiz denied the allegations and said he was being forced to convert to Islam by Khokar.