Sargodha ATC sentences a man to death for assassinating bank manager on blasphemy charges

After finding him guilty of the murder of his employer over blasphemy claims last year, an anti-terrorism court in Sargodha sentenced him to death on Wednesday.

In November last year, Ahmed Nawaz, a security guard of the National Bank of Pakistan branch in Quaidabad tehsil of Punjab’s Khushab district, shot and killed the branch manager, Malik Imran Hanif.

The guard later claimed that Hanif was killed for blasphemy, and a video of him declaring that the deceased manager had “insulted the prophet” went viral on social media.

The suspect was joined by religious leaders, who yelled chants and addressed supporters. Police officers could be seen standing close, filming the incident.

A maternal relative of the deceased manager claimed in another video that the security guard shot Hanif because of a personal dispute. He further refuted the accusation made by the suspect that Hanif had insulted any prophet.

Nawaz was eventually apprehended by police and charged with murder under the anti-terrorism law. Khushab District Police Officer (DPO) retired Capt Tariq Wilayat informed that the guard and the manager had been fighting for quite some time. The guard was apparently dismissed a few months ago, rehired, and had a disagreement with Hanif just a few days ago, according to the officer.

The ATC convicted Nawaz guilty on Wednesday of violating the Pakistan Penal Code’s Sections 302 (Punishment of qatl-i-amd) and 353 (Assault or criminal force to prevent a public worker from doing his duties) as well as Section 7 (Punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

The court sentenced the convict to a further two years in prison, as well as two fines of Rs500,000 and Rs100,000, respectively.

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