Anti-Ahmadi protest, Lahore
Protesters denounce the Ahmadi Muslim community in Lahore, PakistanGetty Images

A prominent member of the persecute Ahmadiyya community and cousin of the first Muslim to win the Nobel Prize for physics has been shot dead by a banned Islamist group in Pakistan.

Malik Saleem Latif, a cousin of Abdus Salam, who shared the physics prize in 1979, was shot just yards from his home in the town of Nankana, near Lahore in the southern province of Punjab, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community told Reuters.

He was riding his motorbike to work with his son when he was shot, said spokesman Saleemuddin, who goes by one name.

"Threats against Ahmadis are common in the area and Latif was a prominent member of the community and a well-known lawyer," he added.

Banned militant organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi said in a statement. The group has previously committed deadly attacks on the Shia and Ahmadi minorities in Pakistan.

The Ahmadi have faced decades of violent persecution in Pakistan, where they are legally forbidden from calling themselves Muslims. In December, a man died when protesters stormed an Ahmadi mosque in Punjab.

Despite international acclaim for his achievements, Salam remains a contentious figure in Pakistan because of his membership of the Ahmadi community. In 2013, vandals scrawled out the word 'Muslim' on his grave in Rabwa.