LAHORE: Gunmen on motorcycles shot dead a 37-year-old pharmacy owner from the Ahmadi community in central Pakistan, police said today. It is the latest attack on one of the country's most persecuted minorities.

The incident took place on Wednesday in the town of Taunsa in Punjab, some 320 kilometres southwest of Lahore. Police said four gunmen on two motorcycles rode up to the drug store owned by the victim, Ikram Ullah, and sprayed him with bullets before fleeing.

“Ikram Ullah was killed on the spot while assailants fled on their motorcycles,” Saleem Niazi, a senior local police officer told.

Police are searching for the attackers, he said, adding that the murder seemed religiously motivated. Saleem Ud Din, a community leader, condemned the killing.

“Continuous, seditious propaganda against Ahmadis all over the country is a primary reason of these kinds of incidents,” Din said in a statement.

Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974 because of their belief in a prophet after Muhammad.