An American who allegedly told a student from a religious school that he was a “messiah sent by God” was shot to death in a Pakistani courtroom where he was to be tried for blasphemy.
Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot several times despite three checkpoints that courtroom officials and observers had to pass through. It is believed the young man responsible for murdering Naseem got the gun from someone, probably a policeman after he had successfully gone through the checkpoints.
The U.S. State Department sent out a strongly worded tweet.
We extend our condolences to the family of Tahir Naseem, the American citizen who was killed today inside a courtroom in Pakistan. We urge Pakistan to take immediate action and pursue reforms that will prevent such a shameful tragedy from happening again.
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) July 30, 2020
State Department spokesman Cale Brown wants Pakistan to reform its blasphemy laws.
Deeply troubled & saddened that U.S. citizen Tahir Naseem was killed yesterday in a courtroom in Pakistan. Our sincere condolences go out to his family. We strongly urge Pakistan to reform its blasphemy laws & court system, which allow such abuses to occur.https://t.co/9CNZIiE0av
— Cale Brown (@StateDeputySPOX) July 30, 2020
I guess this passes as “business as usual” in Pakistan.
As Naseem’s arraignment began before the judge, a young man in the room pulled out a handgun and shot him in the head, officials and witnesses said. The young man was arrested on the spot.
On Thursday, supporters of a hardline Islamist group held a protest rally in Peshawar calling for the release of the suspected shooter, saying he had defended his religion.
“The young man who shot him had no remorse, and said he saw the Prophet Muhammad in a dream the night before,” Latif Afridi, who heads the Peshawar High Court Bar Association, told Reuters.
Afridi questioned how the man managed to get a gun into the court given that all visitors are checked thoroughly at three different points.
Naseem had been in Pakistani custody for two years and the State Department said they warned authorities about what might happen.
We are shocked, saddened, and outraged that American citizen Tahir Naseem was killed yesterday inside a Pakistani courtroom. Mr. Naseem had been lured to Pakistan from his home in Illinois by individuals who then used Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to entrap him. The U.S. Government has been providing consular assistance to Mr. Naseem and his family since his detention in 2018 and has called the attention of senior Pakistani officials to his case to prevent the type of shameful tragedy that eventually occurred.
Naseem may have been nuts but he was hardly a criminal. Tthe extrajudicial “justice” doled out by religious fanatics and mobs has become common in recent years.
While no one has yet been executed under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, extrajudicial murders and mob violence have become increasingly common in recent years. Since 1990, at least 77 people have been killed in connection with the accusation, according to an Al Jazeera tally.
Those killed include people accused of blasphemy, their family members, and lawyers and judges who have acquitted people accused of the crime.
Others killed in recent years include singers, teachers deemed to be advocating “un-Islamic” practices, and members of the persecuted Ahmadi sect.
These may as well be government executions. Authorities don’t dare interfere with the mob lest the mob turn on them.
Maybe there’s a lesson in there for woke white Americans—but they wouldn’t learn it anyway.