ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR, Pakistan – The United States has urged Pakistan to take action to kill a US national in a crowded courtroom while facing a blasphemy trial.
Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot several times at close range when he appeared in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday.
“We call on Pakistan to take immediate action and reforms to prevent a recurrence of this shameful tragedy,” the US State Department said.
When Naseem̵7;s armament began in front of the judge, a young man in the room drew his weapon and shot him in the head, officials and witnesses said. The young man was arrested on the spot.
Supporters of a tough Islamic group staged a protest demonstration in Peshawari on Thursday, demanding the release of a suspected shooter and declaring that he was defending his religion.
The aftermath of the killings, captured on video and shared on social media, showed that Naseem dropped to a chair next to the judge’s bench as more prisoners were taken from the room, some with bloody clothes.
“The young man who shot him had no remorse and said he saw the Prophet Muhammad in a dream the night before,” Latif Afridi, who heads the bar of the Supreme Court in Peshawar, told Reuters.
Afridi asked how the man managed to get a gun to court, as all visitors were thoroughly checked at three different points.
“It is likely that someone who can go unchecked, perhaps a police officer or a lawyer, handed the shooter a gun when he entered,” he said.
According to an indictment letter against Naseem seen by Reuters, the American was in contact with a student at a Islamic school in Pakistan on Facebook and told him that it was a messiah sent by God.
Naseem later met with a student in Peshawar, after whom the police arrested him and charged him with many crimes, including insulting the Prophet Muhammad, who could carry the death penalty in Pakistan.