Pakistan News

Bahawalpur student stabs professor to death over blasphemy allegation

A third-year student at Bahawalpur's Government Sadiq Egerton College on Wednesday allegedly stabbed a professor to death over what he vaguely described as the academic's "anti-Islam" remarks, police sources and persons familiar with the incident said.

Professor Khalid Hameed, the head of the English department, was seated inside his office at the college when he was allegedly accosted and attacked with a knife by the student.

According to initial information noted by police at the scene of the crime, Khateeb Hussain, a 5th-semester BS student enrolled in the English department, had exchanged hot words with Prof Hameed at around 8:40am over the arranging of a 'welcome party' at the college.




The event, which Hameed was overseeing, was to be held on March 21 to welcome new students to the college, police said.

Police sources told DawnNewsTV that Hussain was averse to the event being organised because he viewed the mingling of male and female pupils at the function as "un-Islamic".

Following an argument, Hussain stabbed the professor in the abdomen and head, police said. Hameed was taken to the Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

A video confession of the suspect, aged around 20, was obtained by DawnNewsTV.

In the video, seen by Dawn.com, the suspect identifies himself as Khateeb Hussain and says that he attacked the English professor because he allegedly "spoke against Islam".

In response to a question, he says he assaulted the teacher with a knife in the office where he was sitting. Both of the suspect's hands are bandaged, indicating he received knife injuries during the scuffle.

When informed that the professor had died at the hospital, the suspect expresses satisfaction with his actions.

He is then questioned on why he did not use a lawful way of voicing his complaints against the academic, to which he responds that the country's laws are "freeing the blasphemers (gustaakhon) ".

When asked if he regrets his actions, he expresses no remorse.

Police have arrested the suspect, along with the murder weapon.

Although a complaint was filed by the deceased professor's son for the registration of a First Information Report (FIR), police said a case will be formally lodged once the report of the postmortem examination performed on the victim is received.

In a press release, the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association strongly condemned Hameed's murder.

It demanded that the district administration bring the perpetrators of the crime to book under anti-terrorism laws within 10 days.

It also asked the district and college administrations to take steps to ensure the safety of the teachers.

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

In January last year, a grade-12 student at a college in Charsadda had shot his principal dead after being censured for skipping school to attend the November 2017 sit-in of religio-political parties in Islamabad's Faizabad area. In a video, the student had appeared to justify the murder saying he believed the college principal had committed blasphemy.

In April 2017, a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan had beat up a student, Mashal Khan, to death after accusing him of blasphemy on 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.

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