Dubai: Only two days after the assassination of Pakistan’s minorities affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a man accused in a blasphemy case was shot dead on the outskirts of Rawalpindi on Friday.

Mohammad Imran was gunned down by three masked men near a bus stand in Danda village of Rawalpindi, a garrison city adjacent to the capital Islamabad, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Imran had been charged with blasphemy in April 2009 for allegedly making insulting remarks about Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) during a discussion in a village cafe.

He and fellow defendant Sajid Mahmood were set free by a court order on February 13 last year after the prosecution failed to produce evidence.

A policeman said two of the attackers entered the shop while the third stayed outside. “After spotting the target, they opened fire, killing Imran on the sport and escaped,” Mahmood Ahmad said.

Mohammad Akram, elder brother of Imran, said his brother was killed by a man from a nearby village who had originally accused him of blasphemy.
Punjab governor Salman Taseer and Bhatti have been assassinated since January for making comments critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.