US asks Pakistan to act after American charged with blasphemy

InternationalUS asks Pakistan to act after American charged with blasphemy

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US asks Pakistan to act after American charged with blasphemy

Washington: The United States urged Pakistan on Thursday to take action over the killing of an American national in a crowded courtroom as he faced trial for blasphemy.

Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot multiple times at close range as he appeared in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday.

“We urge Pakistan to take immediate action and pursue reforms that will prevent such a shameful tragedy from happening again,” the US State Department said in a tweet.

As Naseem’s arraignment began before the judge, a young man in the room pulled out a handgun and shot him in the head, officials and witnesses said. The young man was arrested on the spot.

On Thursday, supporters of a hardline Islamist group held a protest rally in Peshawar calling for the release of the suspected shooter, saying he had defended his religion.

The aftermath of the killing, captured on video and shared on social media, showed Naseem slumped over in a chair beside the judge’s bench, as other shackled prisoners, some with bloodied clothes, were taken from the room.

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