Social media users blame TV show hosted by Aamir Liaquat Hussain for inciting violence.
Gunmen in Pakistan on Saturday shot dead a farmer from the Ahmadi community, one of the country’s most persecuted minority groups, police and a spokesman said.
Luqman Ahad, 25 was hit by a single bullet in his head and died on the spot, according to Rohail Sabir, a senior police official in Gujranwala.
Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974 and now suffer discrimination and violent attacks. Police are investigating the motives for the killing, which occurred early Saturday in a village in Gujranwala.
“Luqman Ahad was murdered while he was on his way from his home to his farm,” said Saleem ud Din, a spokesman for the community.
The killing prompted massive outrage on social media, with Pakistanis placing the blame on a morning talk show declaring war on Ahmadis. On Dec. 22, Aamir Liaquat Hussain hosted the show, in which cleric Arif Shah Owaisi said the Ahmadi community was the “enemy of Pakistan.” He added: “They are the ones blaspheming against [Islam’s] Prophet. All us Muslims should recognize that enemy.”
Saturday’s killing marked the second time Hussain’s show had been linked to attacks on Ahmadis. In 2008, he hosted a controversial show in which Islamic scholars called for Ahmadis to be killed. In less than a day, two Ahmadis had been shot dead.
Ahmadis are frequently attacked, accused of blasphemy and subjected to discrimination in education and the workplace. They are also banned from going on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. In October, a retired air force official who was a member of the minority group was shot dead north of Islamabad. An Ahmadi doctor was gunned down the month before in Mirpur Khas. In July, an angry mob torched an Ahmadi neighborhood in Gujranwala, killing a woman and two girls after a local Ahmadi boy was accused of blasphemy.