LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen in Pakistan shot dead a visiting American cardiologist from the minority Ahmadi sect in front of his wife and 3-year-old son on Monday as they left a cemetery after visiting relatives’ graves, police said.
The two gunmen riding a motorcycle shot Mehdi Ali Qamar 10 times at close range in the central town of Chanab Nagar, police officer Shaukat Ali said, adding that Qamar’s wife and son were not harmed. He is survived by another two sons, ages 15 and seven.
The officer said the family arrived two days ago from their home in Columbus, Ohio, for a weeklong visit and that the cardiologist had planned to treat patients at the nearby Tahir Heart Institute. Ali said the killers’ motive is not yet known.
Ahmadis follow the self-proclaimed prophet Ghulam Ahmad and consider themselves Muslims, but are forbidden from presenting themselves as such by Pakistani law.
They have long been targeted by Islamic extremists, and earlier this month a member of the sect accused of blasphemy was shot dead by a gunman who walked into the police station where he was being held.
Saleem Uddin, a spokesman for Ahmadiya Jamaat Pakistan, an organization representing Ahmadis, condemned the “brutal murder of this doctor who served fellow human beings without discrimination.”
He said the attack was part of campaign against Ahmadis and the heart institute, and came after leaflets appeared declaring that treatment there was forbidden by Islamic law.
“In order to put a stop to murders in the name of faith it is essential to put a ban on hate-promoting literature, and those who are legitimizing murder of innocent people should be brought to justice,” he said.