PM, FM condemn killing of Pakistani-Muslim family in Ontario

PM Khan, FM Qureshi

Prime Minister Imran Khan conveyed his condolences and condemned the murder of a Muslim Pakistani family in London, Ontario. “This condemnable act of terrorism reveals the growing Islamophobia in Western countries. Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” the PM stated in a tweet.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also condemned the incident on Twitter, adding that three generations of Pakistani-Canadians have been killed because of their beliefs.

On June 7, police said a man suspected of murdering four members of a Canadian Muslim family after driving them over with his pickup truck had targeted them in a hate crime.

“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate,” Detective Superintendent Paul Waight of the London police department told reporters.

“We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith,” Waight said.

He went on to say that police in London, which is roughly 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Toronto, were discussing with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and prosecutors about the possibility of pursuing terrorist charges.

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, jumped the curb in his car on Sunday, striking five members of the Veltman family, ranging in age from 9 to 74, and then speeding away.

Veltman, a London resident who was detained after the event, faces four charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. After being remanded to jail on Monday, he is expected back in court on Thursday.

The victims’ identities have not yet been disclosed by police, however, the London Free Press said that Syed Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal, were among the deceased.

Syed Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, whose identity has yet to be revealed, died as well. Faez Afzaal, their 9-year-old son, is hospitalized with significant but non-life-threatening injuries.

According to media sources, the family came from Pakistan roughly 14 years ago.

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