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Religious Hatred Motivated Murder in Pakistan, Father Says

The Gaza conflict is said to have heightened the killer’s anger.

They shot Farhan Ul Qamar to death in his house in Talwandi Inayat Khan village, Pasrur Tehsil of Sialkot District, Punjab Province, in the presence of other family members on Nov. 9. The slain Christian’s father, Noor Ul Qamar, said the killer, Muhammad Zubair, showed blatant hatred for Christians and Jews, erroneously referring to the family as Jews as he ranted at them.

Ul Qamar said he was unsure why Zubair targeted his son in particular, though the killer and Farhan Ul Qamar had had a minor argument the previous day. Attacking at 3 a.m. on Nov. 9, Zubair held the family hostage at gunpoint for nearly 40 minutes, refusing to let them go near their fatally injured son, Ul Qamar said.

Eventually, Ul Qamar said that Zubair told him to go to the roof and stay there until he was gone.

“As I was going, Zubair pointed the gun towards my wife and ordered her to unlock the main gate,” he said. “He sat on his motorcycle that was parked outside, fired three shots in the air with his pistol, and shouted, ‘Allahu Akbar [God is greater, a jihadist slogan]’ two-three times before speeding away.”

The grieving father said that as soon as Zubair left, the family gathered around his blood-soaked son and started screaming for help.

“None of our neighbors intervened even after they heard the first three shots fired on Farhan by Zubair,” Ul Qamar said. “No one came out of their homes when he was leaving … everyone feared him.”

He said that his son breathed his last en route to the hospital.

Zubair had never hidden his hatred for Christians, but his behavior worsened after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted into war in Gaza last month, Ul Qamar said. Several Christian families fled the village after Muslims beat two Christian brothers, Aqib Javed, and Asher Javed, for reportedly expressing support for Israel.

Ul Qamar stated that five to six Christian boys, including Aqib and Asher, had left the village out of fear of being the target of extremists once more.

He said the family had decided not to disclose these details earlier because they feared a backlash from local Muslims.

“We have been keeping muted because we did not want the religious leaders to think that we are giving our son’s murder religious color,’ but this is the truth,” Ul Qamar said.

The deceased’s father said that after killing Farhan Ul Qamar, Zubair went home, where police found him sleeping peacefully in his bed.

“An officer told me that during the interrogation, Zubair said that he had mistakenly come to our house and killed Farhan, thinking that he was killing Aqib or Asher Javed,” Ul Qamar said. But this is a lie because Zubair addressed Farhan by his name before shooting him. He also kept saying his name when he was trying to break the door of our room. It was premeditated murder.”

“The police formally registered Zubair’s arrest, and a court granted them his four-day physical remand, which ended on Thursday,” he said. “I have no other information at this point.”

“I think they are sending us indirect messages to scare us, but we are determined to find justice for our beloved son,” he said. His voice breaking with grief, he added, “Farhan was a handsome boy and loved education. Zubair has shattered all our dreams, as he enrolled in a four-year medical technician program and was eager to join the health sector after graduation.

The family had no resources to engage a reputable lawyer and appealed for help from legal aid groups and Christian organizations.

“We want to see Farhan’s killer punished under the law,” Ul Qamar said. “If we cannot find legal representation, I fear the murderer will be



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let off, and then no Christian will be safe in this village. Please help us.”

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