KARACHI: A member of the Ahmadiyya community who was targeted by drive-by shooters on Sunday is in critical condition and undergoing medical treatment.
Aslam Bhatti, 34, was sitting at his computer shop in Baldia Town on Sunday morning when armed men riding on motorcycles shot at him four times. While Bhatti tried to duck two bullets, a bullet ripped through his shoulder and another through his jaw, leaving him critically injured.
Bhatti, the father of three daughters, had reportedly received death threats by people in his locality who called him an infidel and asked him to leave the area. SHO Saeedabad Irshad told The Express Tribune that since Bhatti had a facial injury he has not recorded a statement to the police as yet. He said that Bhatti was a respected man in the neighborhood and had no personal enmity. While he did not rule out the possibility that Bhatti was targeted for his faith, he said the police would only know the motive once it had investigated the case.
During the last four days, prominent leaders of the Ahmadiyya community have been receiving printed death threats at their residences or workplaces. Masood Khan, a Karachi-based representative said that, “People are extremely frightened and are tense that something ugly might take place against our community soon.” The letters bear the name of the ‘Tanzeem al Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban’. The letters state that Ahmadis are enemies of Islam and state that they should be killed. They have been addressed to active community members and have been received at a community centre as well as in residential areas. Khan said graffiti against the community has also appeared in different parts of Orangi recently.
The Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan’s spokesperson Saleemuddin believes Bhatti was targeted because of his beliefs. Around six Ahmadis have been killed in Pakistan since January 2012, including Ahsan Kamal, who was shot dead in Karachi earlier this year. The spokesperson urged the government to take notice of these incidents and also stop the distribution of such threatening letters.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.
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