Thousands expected at funeral for Canadian doctor slain in Pakistan

Toronto Sun: TORONTO – The body of a Canadian doctor slain for his religious beliefs in Pakistan has arrived in Canada for burial.

Grieving loved ones are expected to join members of Canada’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community on Wednesday morning to lay to rest Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, a 50-year-old cardiologist who was gunned down on May 26 while visiting Pakistan.

His body arrived in Toronto early Tuesday afternoon. Thousands are expected at his funeral.

“Not only was he a doctor and humanitarian, he happened to be Canadian as well,” said J.T. Lone, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Canada.

Born in Pakistan, Qamar came to Canada and gained citizenship before moving to Columbus, Ohio.

His wife and three sons — aged two, six, and 16 — arrived in Canada days ago.

“Ironically they were all planning to move here in a few months,” Lone said. “He was going to be a doctor here.”

Qamar was shot while on a trip to a graveyard in Punjab with his wife, son and a cousin.

Lone said the doctor had been in Pakistan for just two days at that point. He was on a trip to volunteer at a hospital set up by the Ahmadi community in Rabwah.

“They had targeted him. They knew this was the person they want to get,” Lone said. “In his family there have been others who have been killed for their religious beliefs.”

Qamar is one of dozens “killed for their faith in recent years,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird noted in a statement last month.

It boils down to “systemic” and “legitimized” discrimination, Lone said.

“And now that it’s happening to American and Canadian citizens, our government must take note of this,” he said.

Qamar’s funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Tahir Hall Community Centre in Vaughan.

— With files from QMI Agency, Reuters

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