Thousands of angry Shia protesters staged a sit-in outside the Sindh Governor House on Sunday night to protest the targeted assassination of their community leader.
Askari Raza, leader of Pasban-e-Jaferia and chairman of Legal Aid Committee of Millat-e-Jaferia, was killed and his friend Ali Mehdi wounded when armed motorcyclists opened fire on them in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Chowrangi on Saturday evening.
Demonstrators blamed CID’s Anti Extremist Cell chief SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan and Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, which is believed to a front for outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, for Raza’s killing.
They chanted slogans against the two and demanded that police register an FIR against the ‘killers’.
About 15,000 mourners attended the protest and marched around 15 kilometres from Ancholi to the Governor House.
Earlier, funeral prayers were offered for the late Raza at Shara-e-Pakistan after Zohrain prayers. He was scheduled to be buried at Wadi-e-Hussain graveyard on Superhighway, but the government’s ‘cold response’ compelled the mourners to march towards the Governor House.
Initially, members of various Shia organisations and groups blocked the Shahra-e-Pakistan for several hours.
Maulana Nazir Naqvi and Maulana Yousuf Hussain Mirza led the procession, while various community leaders addressed the protesters.
They alleged that some people from the law-enforcement agencies were conspiring against the Shia community for the past few months and Raza’s assassination is part of such conspiracies.
Maulana Nazir Naqvi said everyone knows that Raza was vigorously pursuing legal affairs of the Shia community. And for this service Raza was made to pay a price with his life. He alleged that SSP Khan and Maulana Farooqui were involved in his killing.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2012.