American heart doctor killed in Pakistan

Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, an American doctor from Ohio, was shot to death three days after arriving in his native Pakistan to provide free medical care to heart patients.

By JC Finley

ISLAMABAD, May 27 (UPI) -- An American cardiologist from Fairfield, Ohio, was shot to death in a Pakistani graveyard on Monday, three days after arriving in Punjab's Chenab Nagar town.

Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar had traveled to his native Pakistan to provide free medical care to heart patients.


Accompanied by his wife and 3-year-old son, the family was visiting a local graveyard at sunrise on Monday when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire, instantly killing the doctor.

There were no reports of injuries to his wife or son, and the motive for the killing is unclear.

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The doctor is a member of the Ahmadi community -- a group that has been persecuted in Pakistan since 1974. A constitutional amendment in 1974 stated that members of the Ahmadi community were to be considered non-Muslim and, in the 1980s, President Muhammad Zia ul Haq barred Ahmadis from identifying as Muslims.

The shooting death of Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar marks the second killing of an Ahmadi member in Pakistan this year.

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60-year-old Khalil Ahmad was shot to death earlier this month while in police custody on blasphemy charges. A man serving food to prisoners shot Ahmad, reported Saleem Uddin, spokesman for the Ahmadi community.

"Our community will continue to provide services to this country. It is this ongoing process of hate and discrimination that needs to be stopped in Pakistan," the Ahmadi spokesman said.

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