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Pakistan mourns after ‘heart-trembling and extremely tragic’ Muslim family attack in Canada

Pakistan on Tuesday (June 8) mourned a hate-motivated attack that killed four members of a Pakistani-origin Muslim family in the city of London, Ontario.

The family, killed on Sunday (June 6) when a pickup truck jumped the curb and ran them over, were deliberately targeted because of their religion, Canadian police said. The country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau promised to take more action to dismantle far-right groups.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressed grief over the killing. “Saddened to learn of the killing of a Muslim Pakistani-origin Canadian family in London, Ontario. This condemnable act of terrorism reveals the growing Islamophobia in Western countries (which) needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” Khan said on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that after the death of four members of a Pakistan-origin Muslim family in Canada, linked with Islamophobia as per initial reports, the Canadian government must play its role in restoring the confidence and protection of Muslims residing in their country.

The foreign minister said Pakistan Consul General in Toronto had made a contact with relatives of the victim family who lost their lives in the tragic incident in London, Ontario. He said the relatives were offered facilitation in transportation of bodies, however it was informed that the burial would take place in Canada.

Police in London arrested Nathaniel Veltman, 20, in a parking lot about three-tenths of a mile (500 meters) from the London Muslim Mosque. He was wearing a body-armour-type vest. Veltman, who is white, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Authorities are reviewing the possibility of terrorism charges.

The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017. London Mayor Ed Holder said it was the worst mass murder in his city’s history.

In September 2020, Mohammed Aslam Zafis, a Muslim man, was stabbed to death outside a Toronto mosque. Police charged a 34-year-old man with murder.

In February, Canada designated the far-right Proud Boys group a terrorist entity, saying it posed an active security threat after the January assault on the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

(Production: Salah Uddin, Aiden Nulty, Shahabuddin Shahab, Mindy Burrows)

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