American Doctor Shot Dead In Pakistan In
Suspected Sectarian Attack
Send a link to a friend
[May 27, 2014]
By Katharine Houreld
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An American
volunteer cardiologist was shot dead in Pakistan on Monday, a member of
his minority Ahmadi community said, in the latest attack on a group that
says it is Muslim but whose religion is rejected by the state.
Mehdi Ali Qamar had taken his wife, young son and a cousin to a
graveyard in Punjab province at dawn to pray when he was shot, said
Salim ud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community.
"He came here just one or two days ago to work at our heart
hospital, to serve humanity and for his country," Din said. "Two
persons came on motorbikes. They shot 11 bullets in him."
Qamar was born in Pakistan but moved abroad in 1996. He had returned
to do voluntary work at a state-of-the-art heart hospital built by
the Ahmadi community in the eastern town of Rabwah.
Qamar, 50, moved to Columbus, Ohio, in the United States, where he
founded an Ahmadi center and raised funds for medical charities in
Pakistan, Din said.
He is survived by a wife and three young sons, Din said.
The U.S. embassy said it was providing consular assistance but
declined to give further details.
"We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," the
embassy spokeswoman said.
The Ahmadis believe there was a Prophet after Mohammed. Pakistani
law says they are not Muslims, although Ahmadis insist that they
Ahmadis have often been jailed or lynched for blasphemy for things
such as offering Islamic prayers or reading the Koran.
Qamar's killing follows the fatal shooting of a 61-year-old Ahmadi
man last week. A teenage gunman killed Khalil Ahmad in police
custody after the grandfather was arrested on blasphemy charges for
objecting to stickers denouncing his religion.
[to top of second column]
Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan and cases against
both religious minorities and Muslims are rising.
Some mullahs promise that killing Ahmadis earns a place in heaven
and give out leaflets listing their home addresses. Few attacks are
ever solved, even when the victims can identify their attackers.
Seven Ahmadis were killed and 16 survived attempted assassinations
last year, according to an annual report produced by the Ahmadi
community in Pakistan.
Others were driven from their homes or had businesses seized.
(This story was refiled to add doctor's last name and to correct age
to 50 from 51)
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Additional reporting by Mubasher
Bukhari; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alison Williams)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.