New Delhi: India has criticised the killing of an 82-year-old man due to his Ahmadi faith in Peshawar as a “sad reflection of the state of minorities in Pakistan”.
On Sunday, Mahboob Khan was shot dead as he stood at a bus terminal in the city of Peshawar. As per media reports, a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya minority group claimed that he had been killed for his faith.
“One after another, Ahmadis are being targeted in Peshawar while the government has repeatedly failed to protect and stop the violence against the members of the Ahmadiyya Community,” the spokesman said in a statement. He stated that it was the fourth such killing in the last four months.
Four days later, the Indian foreign ministry spokesperson took cognisance of Mahboob Khan’s killing. “We have seen media reports of an 82-year-old Ahmadi man believed to have been shot and killed by some gunmen, apparently because of his faith, in Peshawar. This is, unfortunately, a sad reflection of the state of minorities in Pakistan,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at the weekly briefing.
He asserted that Pakistan has witnessed the “space for people from the minority community to practise their religion shrink continuously”. “We have been consistently raising the issue of the safety, security and well-being of minority communities with the Government of Pakistan,” added the Indian diplomat.
Over the years, India has been raising the issue of sectarian persecution of minorities in Pakistan, referring to Ahmadiyyas and Ismailis, at various platforms of the United Nations. This has usually been in ‘Right to Replies’ – counter-statements to criticism from Pakistani delegates – at various platforms of the United Nations.
The Indian government has also repeatedly raised the issue of persecution of Sikh and Hindus in Pakistan. It has usually reacted strongly whenever specific reports of abduction and forced conversion of Hindu and Sikh girls are brought to light.
Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had also urged Pakistan to guarantee the “fundamental rights of its citizens” during a parliamentary session, in response to a question from a member of parliament who raised the killing of the Ahmadis in Pakistan.