Home Global Village Student kills principal in latest Mumtaz Qadri style killing

Student kills principal in latest Mumtaz Qadri style killing

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News Analysis |

A grade 12 student, Faheem, of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Islamia College in Shabqadar–a private institution– has gunned down the principal of the college, Sareer, on the pretext of ‘blasphemy’. The latest killing highlights the threat of vigilantism over blasphemy that still exists for ordinary Pakistanis.

Police said that the student got disgruntled after the principal had expressed his anger at Faheem over his absence from college for three days due to the latter’s reported participation in the Faizabad sit-in. The city police said that the accused fired six bullets at principal Sareer. As a result of the firing, the principal was critically injured and rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

It seems that the terror of Mumtaz Qadri will be greater than the terror of the TTP, for while the TTP could only operate from distant mountain hideouts, the cohorts of Qadri seem to rise from each nook and cranny of the country.

According to initial reports shared on social media, the student said he had “no remorse over killing the principal”. FC personnel arrested the accused and handed him over to police. In November, daily life in the capital had been paralysed for at least three weeks due to the protest of an alliance of religious parties, including the Tehreek-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST), calling for the sacking of then Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause ─ which had earlier been deemed a “clerical error” and subsequently rectified.

The protest finally ended when the government had succumbed to the demands of the violent protesters and had agreed to remove Zahid Hamid from his post. The TLYR came into being riding on the back of another vigilante killing that by Mumtaz Qadri.

Read more: Salman Taseer’s vigil cancelled by authorities

Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri better known as Mumtaz Qadri, was a convicted murderer and policeman. A follower of Barelvi sect of Islam, he served as a commando of the Elite Police and in the squad of personal bodyguards of then Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer. On 4th January 2011, he assassinated Taseer for speaking in favor of blasphemy-convicted Asia Bibi and against the blasphemy law. He was convicted by the Islamabad High Court, sentenced to death and hanged in February 2016.

There was also the infamous case of the killing of Mashal Khan. Mashal Khan student at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan who was killed by an angry mob in the premises of the university.

According to an estimate, the funeral was attended by over 100,000 people including Hamid Saeed Kazmi. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned electronic media from broadcasting his funeral because it was violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists condemned the ban on media. It was also noted that Barelvis attended the funeral in large numbers.

It was during his Chelum that a group of clerics who would later on go on to form the TLYR tried to lay siege to the Federal Capital. While that siege was ultimately unsuccessful, it did lay the foundation of the TLYR as well as several copycat killings.

In April 2017, Three armed burqa-clad sisters on Wednesday shot dead a man near Sialkot after accusing him of committing blasphemy 13 years ago. Police managed to arrest the three suspects and identified them as Amna, Afshan and Razia. The incident took place in Nangal Mirza village, Pasrur tehsil.

Read more: State Surrender

According to the police, the three women went to the house of Mazhar Hussain Syed, a faith healer, and asked him to pray for them. They also asked him if his son, Fazal Abbas, had returned from abroad. When told that he had returned from Belgium, they asked if they could see him. As soon as Abbas, 45, appeared before the women, they opened fire on him with the weapons they had brought with them secretly. Abbas died on the spot.

The protest finally ended when the government had succumbed to the demands of the violent protesters and had agreed to remove Zahid Hamid from his post. The TLYR came into being riding on the back of another vigilante killing that by Mumtaz Qadri.

The women raised slogans in jubilation after his death, asserting that they had finally eliminated a blasphemer. The women, in their statement to police, alleged that Abbas had committed blasphemy in 2004, but “we couldn’t kill him at the time because we were too young then”. The police confirmed that they had registered a case against Abbas in 2004 under Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Pasrur City station, but he fled abroad soon after.

There was also the infamous case of the killing of Mashal Khan. Mashal Khan student at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan who was killed by an angry mob in the premises of the university on 13th April 2017, over fake allegations of posting blasphemous content online.

Read more: Pakistani politics risks heightening regional tensions?

In the end it seems that the terror of Mumtaz Qadri will be greater than the terror of the TTP, for while the TTP could only operate from distant mountain hideouts, the cohorts of Qadri seem to rise from each nook and cranny of the country.


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