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Fruit of Faizabad sit-in: Student guns down principal over ‘blasphemy’

I have been taught… to kill… to not be afraid: the killer

Student1PAKISTAN: A college student shot dead his principal on Monday claiming that the victim had committed blasphemy by reprimanding him for skipping classes to attend the November 2017 sit-in of religio-political parties in Faizabad.

The incident occurred in Shabqadar tehsil of Charsadda district and the accused was handed over to Frontier Corps (FC) personnel by the college staff

An eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Morning Mail that the principal had just left the classroom “minutes” before he heard gunshots.

“When we rushed outside, the principle Hafiz Sareer Ahmed was lying in a pool of blood and Fahim Shah, the student was weaving a pistol and shouting that the principal had committed blasphemy and that’s why he killed him.”

Another student of the college said the principal had reprimanded the accused for being absent for three days when he went to attend the Faizabad sit-in.

“Since then, things were bumpy between the two and  Fahim would debate with the principal every now and then on the issue of Faizabad sit-in,” the student added.

In a video shot by mobile phone after the incident, the accused can be seen admitting to his crime.

“I have been taught… to kill… to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid of disrespecting the one who” commits blasphemy, the student can be heard saying in Pushto, in a video obtained by this scribe.

“You can kill me,” he tells the arresting officers.

Shabqadar police said the suspect, Faheem, had fired multiple shots at his principal which proved fatal. District Police Officer (DPO) Charsadda Zahoor Afridi confirmed the incident.

The accused in the video seems to accept that he had fired six shots at the principal. “I am not afraid to kill,” the student adds.

Police said the principal had earlier expressed his anger at Faheem being absent from college for three days.

Sources said the student had been marked absent during the days he was attending the Faizabad sit-in.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir mob violence and lynching.

Last year, a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan beat up a student, Mashal Khan to death after accusing him of blasphemy over social media.

The incident caused an outrage across the country, with calls for the blasphemy law to be amended. The investigation into Mashal’s murder was concluded after a joint investigation team probing the case cleared the victim of all charges.

At least 65 people have been murdered by vigilantes over blasphemy allegations since 1990.

By Hamid Hussain, Mardan

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