Lahore: A senior manager of the state-run National Bank of Pakistan was killed by the security guard. He was shot dead over the allegation of ‘blasphemy’ in the country’s Punjab province. This information was given by the police Thursday. Malik Imran Hanif was the manager of the multinational commercial bank’s Quaidabad tehsil in Khushab. It is situated some 250kms from here. Hanif was killed the bank’s security guard Ahmed Nawaz, a retired Army personnel, Wednesday morning.
The deceased’s family said that it was a ‘cold-blooded murder’ by the accused over a personal grudge. They claimed that the guard took the cover of blasphemy to save himself.
The manager was shifted to Lahore’s Services Hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries Thursday. Police said, that Nawaz has been arrested.
According to police officer Tariq Wilayat, Nawaz claimed that he opened fire at Hanif after he committed blasphemy.
“This claim cannot be verified at this stage. Police are probing the matter from all the aspects including the statement of the deceased’s family, We are looking into the personal grudge angle also,” the officer said.
Hanif’s family said that Nawaz was fired a few months ago. However, he was subsequently reinstated. He nursed a grudge against Hanif over his sacking and both had a heated argument recently.
Muhammad Razzak, another guard of the bank, told the police that he had just completed his nightshift. He was changing his uniform when he heard the gunshots.
“I rushed towards the bank office where I found Hanif in a pool of blood and Nawaz fleeing,” he said.
In a video posted on the social media, Nawaz is heard saying he killed the bank manager because he had committed ‘blasphemy’. Nawaz was seen being greeted by a crowd of supporters who also raised religious slogans and roamed in the city streets. Later, he surrendered himself before the police.
Leaders of some religious groups addressed the mob from the rooftop of the police station where he surrendered himself. Police officials were seen standing helplessly. No case was registered immediately.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence. Anyone convicted or even just accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.