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Pakistan police arrest man accused of killing 2 minority Ahmadis in Punjab province

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LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police on Sunday arrested a man accused of killing two members of the minority Ahmadi community in separate attacks in the eastern Punjab province, police and officials said.

The arrest came a day after the suspect shot and killed two Ahmadis hours apart in Mandi Bahauddin, a district in the eastern Punjab province, district police chief Ghulam Moinuddin said. He said the suspect had confessed to killings under questioning and faces murder charges.

It was unclear why the suspect targeted the two men.

The victims belonged to the Ahmadi faith, which was established in the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whose followers believe was a prophet.

In a statement, Amir Mahmood, a spokesperson for the community of Ahmadis, denounced Saturday’s killings. He said the attacker was a student at a seminary, and that a campaign against the Ahmadiyya community is on the rise.

Mahmood demanded action against those involved in hate-speeches against his community.

“Why is the government not taking any action against them,” he asked.

Pakistan’s Parliament declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974, and they have repeatedly been targeted by Islamic extremists, drawing condemnation from domestic and international human right groups.

Homes and places of worship of Ahmadis have been attacked by Sunni militants who consider them heretics.