Pakistani student has shot and killed his school principal in a dispute over the student skipping classes to attend rallies supporting the country’s strict blasphemy laws

Sareer Ahmed, principal of the private Islamia College in the northern town of Charsadda, had an argument with one of his students for missing a number of classes.

The student then shot the principal on campus, local police chief Zahoor Afridi told Reuters.

He said the unnamed student had attended a sit-in staged by a new ultra-religious political party, Tehreek-e-Labaik, late 2017 to oppose a small change in wording to an electoral law, which it said amounted to blasphemy.

The protest, which brought the capital Islamabad to a standstill, ended in clashes between police and demonstrators that killed seven people and injured over 200.

It also led the government to back down and accept the resignation of a minister accused of blasphemy

“Obviously now he is going to say that he (the principal) committed blasphemy. This is a very unfortunate incident,” Afridi added.

Insulting Islam’s prophet is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and blasphemy accusations stir such emotions that they are difficult to defend against. Even a rumor of blasphemy can spark mob violence.

Police have taken the student, who appeared in photographs and video to be 16 or 17 years old, into custody and filed a first information report against him.

In a video recorded during the arrest, the student can be heard defending his actions in Pashto, a regional language.

“I committed this murder and I accepted it. It was ordered by God,” he proclaimed.
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