The brutal killing of a Christian medical student and enigma of motive in Pakistan

Farhan, the Pakistani Christian boy shot and killed.

A Christian medical student was shot and brutally killed in Talwandi Inayat Khan village, Pasrur tehsil of Sialkot District, Punjab Province, Pakistan early this month.

Farhan Ul Qamar, 20, who was pursuing a career as a laboratory technician, was killed in his under-construction house around 3 a.m. on November 9, by Muhammad Zubair.

Though the police have arrested Zubair, the motive behind the murder remains unclear, leaving the family bewildered.

The murder took place when Zubair trespassed into the Qamar family home and before he opened fire at Farhan, he hurled abuses at him and then shot at him thrice – in the right ear, neck and collarbone.

Zubair held Farhan’s mother hostage, pointing his gun at her till he left the main gate, said Saleem Iqbal, a human rights activist to Christian Today.

“After killing Farhan, Zubair held the family at gunpoint for almost half hour before he fled from their home,” said Iqbal.

A day earlier, Zubair had attempted to instigate a quarrel with Farhan, creating tension over a pile of bricks outside the under-construction house.

There were social media claims that Farhan had posted a pro-Israel post on Facebook, and thus he was targeted. The family denies the claims, asserting that no such incident occurred, informed Iqbal.

“Zubair is a notorious fellow,” said Iqbal. “Farhan did not know Zubair nor exchanged greetings with him. It is shocking as to how he could kill Farhan over a minor quarrel that took place between them a day earlier,” he added.

After Zubair fled, the family rushed Farhan to the hospital, who died in transit.

Iqbal informed Christian Today that the residents of that area were troubled by Zubair’s bullying attitude as he would get into fights with the other residents as well.

Living among 18-20 Christian families in the village for generations, the Qamar family has faced prejudicial attitudes from some Muslims due to their Christian faith.

Though Zubair was arrested a few hours after the shooting, the family is distressed by the lack of information regarding the motive behind the murder.

“Zubair is a criminal and was previously booked in seven or eight cases of a different nature,” the officer, identified only as Fayyaz, told Morning Star News. “We are interrogating him for Farhan’s murder, but so far he hasn’t told us why he murdered the boy.”

The investigating officer assures ongoing interrogation but acknowledges that Zubair’s formal arrest has not been registered.

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