People gather during an anti-France demonstration in Rawalpindi. AFP
A Pakistani bank manager was shot dead by its security guard allegedly over blasphemy allegations in Khushab city of Punjab province, police and relatives said on Thursday.
Malik Imran Hanif, the manager of the National Bank of Pakistan branch in Quaidabad tehsil of Khushab, was shifted to a local hospital after he was shot by the guard from a rifle. Due to his critical injuries, he was taken to Lahore where he succumbed to his wounds at the Services Hospital.
Khushab District Police Officer (DPO) retired Capt Tariq Wilayat said it would be premature to comment on the motive behind the murder, but confirmed that the security guard, who was arrested after the incident, had claimed to have killed Hanif over blasphemy.
In a video of the suspect that was shared on social media, the guard could be heard saying that the deceased manager had "insulted the Prophet (PBUH)."
The DPO said police were investigating the incident. Quoting initial reports, he said the security guard and the manager had been quarrelling for some time. The guard was reportedly fired a few months ago; he was subsequently rehired and had an argument with Hanif a few days ago, the officer added.
Police also expressed doubt over the guard's claim that he had killed the manager over blasphemy. They suggested that the guard had committed the murder due to personal grievances.
Videos shared on Twitter showed the guard being greeted by a crowd of supporters after killing the manager. The security guard and the mob then raised slogans as they walked on the street.
The suspect was then joined by the leaders of a religious group, all of whom raised slogans and addressed supporters from the rooftop of the Quaidabad Police Station. Police personnel could be seen standing nearby recording videos.
In another video, a maternal uncle of the deceased manager stated that the security guard had shot dead Hanif due to a personal issue. He denied the suspect's claim that Hanif had committed blasphemy. He demanded that the murder be investigated on merit and the suspect be brought to justice.
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