Slain Shia leader’s father testifies in court over lead-up to murder

Published: May 27, 2012

“He was killed on the directions of SSP Chaudhry Aslam (in picture) and Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui,” Hasan said.

KARACHI: 

“I am a law-abiding citizen of Pakistan,” said the white-haired man in his 70s, as he settled into a chair to speak to the judge in Anti-Terrorism Court I on Saturday.

The pronouncement came from Raza Hasan, who is the father of Askari Raza, a Shia leader who was killed in Karachi on December 31, 2011. His death inspired protests, including a sit-in by thousands of people outside Governor House, an act that prompted the government to declare several of its buildings in Karachi as part of the off-limits ‘red zone’.

Raza Hasan was in court to file an application with Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso, complaining that not enough was being done to solve his son’s murder.

Hasan – allowed to be seated for medical reasons – offered a long diatribe in the courtroom, prompting both his lawyer and the judge to note at several points that what he had to say was irrelevant to the application. The point he was trying to make though, is that his son had been marked for death for many months, because of his role in campaigning for people arrested by the police.

“He was killed on the directions of SSP Chaudhry Aslam and Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui,” Hasan said. He went on to explain his version of the events leading up to his son’s murder, from the arrest of Muntazir Imam, a suspected sectarian killer, last May. “He was arrested from the Madinatul Ilm Imambargah in Gulshan-e-Iqbal by CID police, on the directions of SSP Aslam and in collusion with Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui,” Hasan said of Imam’s arrest.

“Farooqui is a leader of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which now calls itself the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat,” he told the court.

Hasan alleged that Muntazir Imam had been implicated in “11 false cases” and a “joint investigation team was constituted under the influence of SSP Aslam and subsequently proved to be false.”

After Muntazir Imam’s arrest, Askari Raza and lawyer Mukhtar Abbas Bukhari [who was killed on July 23, 2011] went to SSP Aslam’s office, where Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui was present, Hasan told the judge. “They tried to prove that Muntazir Imam was not even in the country [at the time of the crimes he was accused of committing] by showing Muntazir Imam’s passport which proved he was in Malaysia.”

“But Chaudhry Aslam did not accept their arguments on this point,” Hasan said before alleging that Chaudhry Aslam had offered “Rs10 million to Raza and Bukhari to deny their support for Imam.” He also threatened the two men with death, according to Hasan, and so his son and the lawyer were “murdered at the behest of Aslam and Farooqui”.

Askari Raza’s father painted a portrait of his son as an activist who tried to clear Muntazir Imam’s name but was falsely implicated in cases himself. “He voluntarily gave his arrest at the Artillery Maidan police station,” Hasan said of his late son. “He was released after the investigation and he resumed pursuing the fake cases against Imam.”

After Askari Raza’s death and the sit-in, the Sindh governor invited a five-member delegation from the Shia community for talks with government officials. SSP Aslam was suspended briefly and Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui cut all public appearances to avoid being arrested after he was named in the First Information Report (FIR). However, Raza Hasan feels that nothing has happened since then, and Aslam was never really suspended. His lawyer, Syed Tasawur Hussain Rizvi, believes this is part of a wave of ‘sectarian hatred’ that has spread throughout the city.

“No action has been taken on the FIR. There has been no hearing,” Hasan said, with a tinge of bitterness.

Judge Khoso has set a date of June 7 for the next hearing.

Key actors: Innocent until

Askari Raza: leader, killed Dec 31, 2011 Raza Hasan: his father, testifying in court Muntazir Imam: suspected killer arrested, defended by Askari Mukhtar Abbas Bukhari: lawyer, killed on July 23, 2011, defended Imam Maulana Orangzaib Farooqui: leader of ASWJ CID SSP Chaudhry Aslam: approached over Imam

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.

Reader Comments (13)

  • shoaib
    May 27, 2012 - 7:24AM

    Sunni in iran are not allowed to keep name like abu bakar,usthman,maawiya etc.They select name for children from allowed names.They are 15% in iran but not a single sunni general in shia army and not a single top police officer and very few sunni in parliament after taking shia oath.Thousand sunni are martyred iran. Pakistani shia enjoy free access to CSS and ISSB exam and joining in high number in civil and army beaurocracy to overtake sunni majority when chance arrive as per khumeini directions like syria where even today 45 small baby were martyred but shia newspapers like tehran times are silent and iran fully support sunni massacre.I believe minority be given young brother status but in pakistan,they are given status like master of the country.Shia are 6% and not 15% as found in survey of class rooms of open merit medical colleges or universities where all pakistani get admission like quaid azam university,punjab,peshawar and karachi university.In no class,more than 10 shia students were found out of 200Recommend

  • Tariq Jameel
    May 27, 2012 - 5:31PM

    @shoaib: and what about saudia arabia?

    Recommend

  • Kaspar
    May 27, 2012 - 5:37PM

    @shoaib:
    Your diatribe contains misstatements and unverified spurious information that would serve no purpose other than increasing hatred among different communities and sects.
    the very assertion that there are 15 % Sunnis in Iran is plainly wrong. So also the claim that Sunnis are not allowed to keep names like Abu Bakr, Uthman And Muawiyya. (one wonders why you left out Yezid from the list!) Another piece of misinformation is that you are trying to present Syria as a Shia state, which of course it is not. Iran and Syria are political allies, not sectarian allies. Try to understand the regional alignments in the Middle East at present.
    AS regards the number of Shias in Pakistan, there is no authentic information in this regard because our census figures only record ‘Muslim’ against religion and do not, thankfully, ask for sectarian affiliation.
    If one wants this country to be prayerful and democratic, one should first of all shed all notions that preach hatred between various religions and various sects within religions. Therein lies our salvation. Even if it is accepted for the sake of argument that Iran discriminates against Sunnis, and in Pakistan Shias enjoy ‘free access to CSS and ISSB” it is something to be proud of, rather than be resentful about. And Mr. Shoaib, give me one good reason why the Shias, — or any other community or sect for that mater– should not be allowed free access to CSS and ISSB!!
    These Pakistani ‘Shias’ are as good Pakistanis as any other. Trying to make them a scapegoat for the wrongs (imagined, I would say!) of the Iranian government Next you would ask why the Christians, the Hindus and other communities are allowed to live in peace, and finally, you would discriminate among various denominations within the Sunnis, such as Deobandi, Barelvi Ahle Hadith and so on. Where would it end, will you enlighten me? Recommend

  • Kaspar
    May 27, 2012 - 5:50PM

    Plese read peaceful in place of ‘prayerful’ in my comments above

    Recommend

  • May 27, 2012 - 7:03PM

    @ Kaspar

    Well done sir.
    After reading your comments, i think this country still has some hope and semblance of sanity left in it.

    And Thanx Heavens for that.

    HASAN ABID
    Recommend

  • May 27, 2012 - 8:49PM

    @ Mr. Shoaib

    Sir,
    Its the sheer ignorance of ppl like your self , that this country has come to the brink of such colossal chaos , strife, and utter social meltdown.

    After reading your ill informed piece littered with distorted facts, manipulated tit bits of superfluous info, that u so generously dispatched to the displeasure of your shocked readers, who know better, than u had wished.

    Its also a pity that a daily of Tribune’s standing can award space to such ill conceived and misguided comments, that surely cause more harm to the sanity ( watever z left ) of the ppl who r subjected to it, than otherwise.

    Mr. Shoaib, u wd b better off, to get yourself off the skewed curriculum drilled in the impressionable minds of this country’s educational mess. U wd also do urself one heck of a favor, by getting your facts straight and figures doubly checked, next time round u want to embark on the misadventure of lifting a pen…and May God have mercy on all of us for that…………..

    HASAN ABIDI
    Recommend

  • ashar
    May 27, 2012 - 10:46PM

    We should avoid shia sunni debate. Recommend

  • Kaspar
    May 28, 2012 - 12:26AM

    But we should not avoid telling the truth and upholding justice.

    Recommend

  • Usman Umer Siddiqui
    May 29, 2012 - 10:16AM

    @Mr Shoaib,

    Why are you misguiding our sect and innocent ppl i am migrated IRANI sunni and and i have my sunni relatives in IRAN. They are enjoying their religion quite freely even more than my relatives living in SAUDI ARABIA.

    We as a muslim must admire IRANI regime to have such firm instance against usa and isreal the real enemies of all muslim both shia and sunni.

    Recommend

  • Mutahar Naqvi
    May 30, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Be unite..Agreed with Usman Umer Siddiqui comment.. our real enemies are America and Israel..Shoib is just talking non sense..His comment is showing that he dont have any information..

    Recommend

  • PPL_Paki
    May 30, 2012 - 11:29AM

    @Kasper

    Keep blessed

    @Shoiab

    Bhai please try to become bridge b/w these sects as we are trying..Ahle Tashis living in Pakistan they don’t even think to build state-within-state cant you see that. just take a round up of recent history what happened in LAL masjid..apparently they seemed to be innocent and on reality they were trying to make state-within-state. Ahle Tashi Community dodnt tried to do so after partition moreover serveed well as other Pakistani did.

    Bhai ap ke comments parh ke acha nai laga because it showed lack of information(i would Say!)

    Keep blessed.

    Recommend

  • May 30, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Such propaganda like Shoaib’s is what has kept the Muslim Ummah apart. We need to unite with all Muslim nations, including Iran to build an integrated economic system and something in such as NATO to have a united force/

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Jul 19, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @Kaspar
    Beautifully written. God bless you sirRecommend

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