College student guns down principal over 'blasphemy’

Sareer Ahmad the principal of Islamia College

Locals said Faheem Ashraf shot dead Sareer Ahmed, the principal of the New Islamia Public High School and College, on the Matta Road in Shabqadar town of Charsadda district after accusing him of blasphemy.

Frontier Corps (FC) personnel arrested the shooter and handed him over to the police.

In a video, the student, while being arrested, appeared to justify the murder saying he believed the college principal had committed blasphemy.

The city police said that the accused fired six bullets at principal Sareer. An investigation has been launched. "Don't be afraid of disrespecting those who commit blasphemy", the student can be heard saying in Pashto in a video of his arrest.

"I have been taught.to kill.to not be afraid".

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The young man had traveled to Islamabad in November to participate in a sit-in protest organized by a radical Islamic group, Tehreek-e-Labaik, to denounce attempted changes in an electoral law for allegedly being blasphemous.

The protest, which brought the federal capital to a virtual standstill for weeks in November previous year, ended in violent clashes between police and demonstrators that injured over 200. Under the country's controversial blasphemy law, a proven allegation can lead to death penalty. Blasphemy allegations can often cause mob violence and brutal killings in Pakistan.

Police have since arrested almost 60 people, including students and some faculty members, for playing a role in Khan's lynching.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan and people have been killed in the past on mere suspicion.

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