A local Shia leader on Saturday accused the banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) of target killing their men and threatened to launch a peaceful protest if the culprits were not arrested within a week.
Flanked by party workers, Allama Waheed Abbas Kazmi, district president of Wahdatul Muslimeen, condemned the murder of Syed Azmat Abbas and his office boy Faizan in Haripur, last week, while addressing a news conference. They were shot dead near the district courts and the police had claimed that Faizan had shot his employer before committing suicide.
Giving details of the target killing of Shias in Haripur, Kazmi said Syed Mohib Ali Shah was murdered when he was on his way home after closing down his shop, last December but the accused have still not been arrested, despite repeated requests. The cold-blooded double murder of Azmat and Faizan is proof of the SSP’s involvement, he added. “Since the police do not check their activities, they continue to target Shias.” He said their protest could culminate at the Parliament House, if their concerns were not addressed.
The Shia leader also criticised the local police for trying to cover up the sectarian killings. “Right after the double murder, DSP Headquarters Tariq Khan, without conducting an investigation, jumped to the conclusion that Faizan had shot Abbas and then turned the pistol on himself.” He said the claim was unjustified and unprofessional. “The DSP’s statement aimed to conceal facts and the incompetency of the local police.”
He also accused the SSP of being involved in killing a man and wounding 14 others, while they were participating in a procession on 12 Rabiul Awwal, in Mansehra.
While Mansehra remains volatile, an earlier incident that sparked tension in Haripur was defused by Shia leaders who were swift to condemn the murder of 12 Sunni members of a family by their Shia relatives and termed it a personal enmity. The SSP had tried to portray it as sectarian violence and had demanded a ban on Muharram processions in Haripur. But the local administration successfully resolved the issue and Muharram processions across the district continued uninterrupted to this day.
Speaking to The Express Tribune Maulana Tauheedur Rehman Tauheedi, provincial vice president SSP which has rebranded itself as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat rejected the allegation against his party workers in the murder of Shias in Haripur. He said the statement was provocative and devoid of proof. “Our party leadership has always advised workers to exercise complete restraint and remain peaceful at every cost.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.
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