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Thousands rally in support of killer of blasphemy accused in Pakistan

AP/Islamabad
Filed on August 1, 2020 | Last updated on August 1, 2020 at 08.19 pm
Pakistan, blasphemy, killer
Members of a religious group march during a rally in Peshawar in support of Faisal Khan, who killed a blasphemy accused.

(AFP)

Earlier this week, the man walked into a courtroom in the city of Peshawar and gunned down a US citizen on trial for blasphemy

Thousands of hardliners rallied on Friday in northwestern Pakistan in support of a man who earlier this week walked into a courtroom in the city of Peshawar and gunned down a US citizen on trial for blasphemy.

The American, Tahir Naseem, died of his wounds before he could be taken to hospital while the gunman, Faisal Khan, was taken into custody.

The US State Department said Naseem was standing trial after being "lured to Pakistan" from his home in Illinois and entrapped by the country's blasphemy law. The US statement did not elaborate on the circumstances in which Naseem came to be in Pakistan.

At the rally in Peshawar, the demonstrators carried signs praising Khan for the killing, calling for his immediate release from jail and saying he killed Naseem because the government was too slow in prosecuting blasphemy cases.

"We are not in favour of taking the law into our own hands, but Faisal did what the government should have done two years ago," said Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, who led the rally through the narrow streets of the old city.

Although the authorities have yet to carry out a death sentence for blasphemy, there are scores of accused on death row.


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