Faith-based murder of Ahmadiyya man in Hasilpur, Punjab: HRCP fact-finding report

HRCP; April 2024: A 54-year-old Ahmadi, Tahir Iqbal, was shot dead by two unidentified assailants in Tehsil Hasilpur, District Bahawalpur on 4 March 2024. Initially, the police termed the murder as for ‘honour’. With objective to ascertain the real motive of the murder and establish the facts on the ground, HRCP organized a fact-finding mission to Hasilpur on 11 March 2024, comprising Nazir Ahmed, Khawaja Asadullah (HRCP members), Faisal Mahmood (staff member), and Lubna Nadeem (HRCP Council member).

They met the locals and representatives of the law enforcing agencies. Ahmadis stated that a recent inflammatory speech by a local cleric Maulvi Razzak had fuelled animosity towards Ahmadis in the village. Another local attributed Tahir Iqbal’s murder to Maulvi Razzak’s inflammatory rhetoric. It was also revealed to the mission that TLP had been organizing meetings in Bahawalpur and indulging in hate speech against the Ahmadiyya Community, branding them as ‘obligatory targets’. This hostile environment, said a local, had left Ahmadis feeling imprisoned in their own homes, afraid to venture out after sunset.

A non-Ahmadi told HRCP that he had also noticed an adverse shift in local’s attitudes towards Ahmadis. He said that prior to the current divide and hostilities, attributable to Maulvi Razzak’s sermons, the locals were living in harmony.

Unable to interview the SHO and investigating officer, the mission eventually got a chance to meet the DPO Bahawalpur on 14 March. The DPO told the mission that two young men, Adeel Azeem and Zain Irshad, had been arrested on charges of murder and had allegedly confessed to killing Tahir Iqbal because killing any Ahmadi person was ‘a shortcut to Paradise’ as per a fatwa (Islamic legal decree) issued by Maulvi Razzak.

The mission showed concern on learning that the SHO had advised the victims’ heirs against attributing the incident to faith-based violence—even after the confession of the two arrested.

It seems that it is a policy with the Punjab Police to avoid calling a communal murder as such, and prefer to look for other reasons.

The detailed observations and recommendations of the mission can be read at