Karachi: Less than four weeks after school system official Syed Khalid Raza was gunned down in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, a Sunni Ulema Council (SUC) leader was shot dead in the neighbourhood early on Tuesday morning.
Maulana Mufti Sufi Abdul Qayyum Naqshbandi was attacked by unidentified motorcyclists in Block 9 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar. His body was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Police said Naqshbandi was the Mohtamim of the Madrasa Noorani Islamic Centre in the area, adding that he was also chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Association. Officials said the suspects shot him in the head outside his home, killing him on the spot.
Police registered FIR No. 201/23 under Section 302/34 at the Gulistan-e-Jauhar police station on the complaint of the slain cleric’s brother Muhammad Asif, who said that according to witnesses, two unidentified men on a motorbike gunned down his brother, adding that the witnesses can identify the suspects.
SHO Adeel Afzal said the case has been transferred to the investigation wing. He said the police are investigating the case from different angles with the help of CCTV camera footage and witness statements.
According to initial reports, a dispute between two groups over a mosque in the area had occurred earlier, but the police are yet to ascertain if the attack was a result of that. The CCTV camera footage shows the two suspects arriving, then one of them getting off the motorbike and shooting the cleric in the head at close range. The footage shows that the attacker had neither tried to rob the cleric nor given him a chance to resist.
At the time of the incident, the victim had been returning home after offering the Fajr prayers. His family, religious scholars and other supporters held a protest outside the hospital, and also blocked the emergency gate.
After the completion of the medico-legal formalities, the victim’s body was handed over to the authorities. The deceased was then taken to the madrasa in Gulistan-e-Jauhar.
SUC leader Maulana Ashraf Gormani sought the advice of scholars before deciding on the victim’s funeral. He would also decide on the next course of action after consultation. Protesters were also preparing to demonstrate at Magsi Chowk in the neighbourhood. A large number of people had started gathering to participate in the sit-in. The road from Magsi Chowk to Safoora had been closed for traffic.
Mufti Muneebur Rehman told The News that the faces of the attackers can be seen clearly in the CCTV camera footage, so now it is the responsibility of the Sindh police chief to have them arrested.
‘Arrest the killers’
Political parties condemned Maulana Abdul Qayyum Sufi’s killing and demanded of the Sindh government to arrest the culprits immediately. In a statement, the members of the Coordination Committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) expressed grief and sorrow over the cleric’s killing.
They said the MQM-Pakistan equally shared the grief of the bereaved family. “The killing of Sufi is a big tragedy. Terrorists want to destroy the peace of the city by committing such heinous crimes,” they said.
Sindh Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf president and former federal minister Ali Zaidi expressed his sadness over the killing of Maulana Sufi. In a statement, he said: “We deeply regret the martyrdom of Maulana Abdul Qayyum Sufi. Target killing has once again started in the city in which religious scholars lost their lives in the past too.”
Zaidi demanded that the Sindh government should take steps to improve the law and order situation in Karachi. He offered condolences to the heirs of the Sufi and prayed that Allah might give patience to the bereaved family members.
Karachi PTI president Aftab Siddiqui condemned the murder of Maulana Sufi and demanded that the elements involved in the killing of the religious scholar should be arrested as soon as possible. The Sindh government should take immediate notice of the incident.
Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League-Functional Sindh and Information Secretary Grand Democratic Alliance Sardar Abdul Rahim also expressed his sorrow over the martyrdom of Maulana Abdul Qayyum Sufi.
In a statement, he said the Sindh government should immediately arrest the killers and bring them to justice. Rahim said target killers are once again getting power in the city to disrupt law and order. In the past, dozens of religious scholars were targeted to create unrest in the city, he recalled.
He said the provincial government had completely failed to control the law and order situation in the province. Pakistan Sunni Tehreek central leader Muhammad Sarwat Ijaz Qadri said the killing of Allama Abdul Qayyum was a question mark on those who were responsible to maintain law and order in the city.
The killing was a conspiracy to create communal riots in the city, he said, adding that if action was taken against those who created unrest at a mosque in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, such a big tragedy would not have happened. The Sindh home minister, IGP and the additional IG Karachi should make immediate efforts to arrest the killers and expose the hidden faces behind this incident to the public.
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