At least six Muslim proselytizers from the Tableeghi Jamaat were killed and another four wounded when one of their colleagues opened fire on them in a mosque in the Alai tehsil of Battagram district on Saturday afternoon.
According to Maulana Anwarul Haq, the administrator of Tableeghi Markaz in Alai, and witnesses, the alleged killer is a schizophrenic.
A 10-member group from Tank and Bannu districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was on a preaching tour in the Biyar Paka Beg area of Alai for the past 25 days.
On Saturday, when the group was preaching in the local mosque, one of their colleagues got hold of the AK-47 assault rifles of prayer leader Maulana Fazal Rehman, which was lying in the mosque’s veranda, and opened indiscriminate fire.
Six people were killed on the spot while the rest were wounded – some of them critically.
Maulana Anwarul Haq said that there were no sectarian motive for the sextuple murder. He added that the alleged killer, whom he identified as Rizwanullah, was suffering from schizophrenia.
He said that Rizwanullah’s family had sent him on the proselytising tour with a Tableeghi Jamaat party believing that he would get spiritually healed.
The victims were identified as Noor Ali, Mir Wali, Sabaz Ali, Jehangir Khan, Ahmedullah and Maulana Fazalur Rehman.
The casualties were shifted to the District Headquarters in Battagram while the local police arrested the alleged killer.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.