US expresses shock over killing of Tahir Naseem, urges Pak to immediately reform its 'often abused' blasphemy laws

Jul 31, 2020

National
US expresses shock over killing of Tahir Naseem, urges Pak to immediately reform its 'often abused' blasphemy laws

Washington D.C. [US], July 31 (ANI): Expressing shock and outrage over the killing of an American citizen inside Pakistani courtroom, US on Thursday (local time) asked Pakistan to "immediately reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system, which allow such abuses to occur."
"We are shocked, saddened, and outraged that American citizen Tahir Naseem was killed yesterday inside a Pakistani courtroom. Naseem had been lured to Pakistan from his home in Illinois by individuals who then used Pakistan's blasphemy laws to entrap him," Cale Brown, Deputy Spokesperson, US State Department said in a release.
Brown stated that the US government has been providing consular assistance to 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."
"We grieve with the family of Naseem. We urge Pakistan to immediately reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system, which allow such abuses to occur, and to ensure that the suspect is prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Brown.
Tahir Ahmad Naseem, from the minority Ahmadi community, was shot dead in a courtroom in Peshawar on Wednesday. He was on trial for blasphemy.
The young assailant, identified as Khalid Khan who managed to get into the court amid tight security was arrested later.
Naseem was arrested two years ago on blasphemy charges.
Ahmadis, a four million-strong minority group in Pakistan, have faced death, threats, intimidation and a sustained hate campaign for decades.
Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law carries an automatic death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting God, Islam, or other religious figures.
Many members of the minority communities in Pakistan - the Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs were charged with blasphemy law. (ANI)