Justice for Tahir Ahmad Naseem

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On July 29th 2020, my father, Tahir Ahmad Naseem, was shot and killed inside of a courtroom in Peshawar, Pakistan. My father, a United States citizen, had been imprisoned for 2 years on blasphemy charges prior to his unjust killing. He was lured to Pakistan from our home in Illinois by malicious individuals who used the extremely religious laws to entrap and imprison him. Persecution of religious minorities is a big problem in Pakistan, and the strict blasphemy laws only make it easier for minorities to be targeted. According to Human Rights Watch, the blasphemy laws “provide a pretext for violence against religious minorities, as well as arbitrary arrests and prosecution.”

The killer has been taken into custody, however, lawyers and police forces are taking lighthearted selfies with him and he was greeted with hugs and kisses upon his arrival in court. It is also unclear how he was able to bring a weapon into a maximum security courtroom, indicating that there was likely collaboration with more people, including government officials, in this senseless killing. Protests in the streets of Pakistan supporting Faisal, the killer, are disturbingly widespread. Shortly after his death, a hashtag began trending on social media praising his killer. According to the Washington Post, “many of those promoting the hashtag described themselves as Taliban sympathizers.” Clearly, his case is not being taken seriously enough by the Pakistani government and people.

The US Embassy says they “grieve with the family of Mr. Naseem”, but they are slacking and aren't giving importance to the investigation of the case. They also did not give us enough help while my father was still alive, and their help could have saved his life and brought him home to his family. They promised to help my father, but all they did was bring him toiletries in prison. The true legal help he needed was never received. A tweet from the US State Department called for “immediate action” in response to his killing, but their tweets are simply empty words. We seek assistance from the United Nations and the United States government to bring justice for my father and imprison his killer for life without parole. In addition, we call for greater reform to the Pakistani blasphemy laws and ending the unnecessary persecution of religious minorities. This issue has been prevalent for a long time, but nothing is being done about it and far too many innocent people have died.