Hate speech?: More than 18 clerics arrested in raids across city

Published: February 12, 2013

Female police officers also took part in the operation during which they entered houses and imambargahs to apprehend the accused. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: 

More than 18 prominent Shia and Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) leaders and associates were arrested by the police in a crackdown across the city on Monday for allegedly preaching violence.

Heavy contingents of police initiated the crackdown around midnight on Sunday and raided houses in Kachi Mohallah, Kocha Risaldar and Mohallah Marviha. Female police officers also took part in the operation during which they entered houses and imambargahs to apprehend the accused.

Those arrested include Muhammad Ali Karbalahi, Zulfikar Hussain Zakir, Nawaz Ali Kiyani and Wazir Hassan Turabi – all members of the Imamia Jirga.

SSP worker Aurangzeb was arrested from his house in Kohati, Shah Faisal from Mohallah Fazal-e-Haq, and Irshad Hussain Haideri and Qari Sadeeq from Mohallah Garhi Banamarhi. Several others were arrested from other parts of the city as raids continued till the filing of this report.

While the police declined to officially comment on the matter, an official requesting anonymity said: “Sectarian violence has engulfed the city for the past few months. These leaders and workers are involved in preaching violence to their followers and we have been asked to arrest them.”

Imamia Jirga’s public relations secretary and the general secretary of the Muharram Committee, Mustafa Ali Akhunzada, however, criticised authorities for arresting Shia leaders and workers. He said midnight raids would only enrage the community, which is already targeted by sectarian violence.

“Let me assure you these tactics cannot force us to end our boycott against the administration until they stop targeting Shias,” said Akhunzada, adding that a military operation should be carried out in the suburban areas of Peshawar that have become a safe haven.

“Instead of arresting terrorists, the police are cracking down on Shia leaders,” he alleged, blaming authorities for having failed to protect them.

SSP district chief Maulana Muhammad Ismail Derwesh also expressed outrage. “Our activities were limited to preaching and we are not involved in armed violence against any one,” he said.

“They have arrested around a dozen of our workers and our leaders which is unjust. They are being sent to Central Jail DI Khan for one month. The authorities are pushing us towards a violent confrontation.”

Firdous Lala, the 68-year-old father of late SSP leader Aslam Farooqi, was also arrested, but later released after people protested. His son Aurangzeb, however, was whisked away, said Darwesh.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.

Reader Comments (13)

  • gp65
    Feb 12, 2013 - 8:19AM

    IF they were responsible for hate speech, are they being charged? Under what section of the law? Hope it is not the open ended Maintenance of Pulic Order but something very specific and hopefully they have some iPhone or some other clipping of the people concerned giving the speech so that the prosecution can actually succeed

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  • Feb 12, 2013 - 10:30AM

    That’s a positive development. Let’s hope these arrests happen across the board for any cleric who preaches hatred.

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  • A J Khan
    Feb 12, 2013 - 10:49AM

    Between Islam and Mullah one is to be selected. If you follow Islam, you have to quit on Mullah or vice versa. You cannot sail in two boats.

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Feb 12, 2013 - 11:36AM

    Why don’t they deliver “love and brotherhood speeches”? Hate speeches will spread hatred.

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  • Amir
    Feb 12, 2013 - 12:35PM

    So who are their leaders? Catch them as well.

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  • Gujesh
    Feb 12, 2013 - 12:51PM

    Such actions are one-off only. Don’t expect much.

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  • sabi
    Feb 12, 2013 - 2:10PM

    Just arrested I thought..
    @A J Khan:
    Between Islam and Mullah one is to be selected. If you follow Islam, you have to quit on Mullah or vice versa. You cannot sail in two boats.
    Better can not be said.

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  • pak patriot
    Feb 12, 2013 - 2:47PM

    lock them up in a single cell.

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  • Faisal
    Feb 12, 2013 - 4:52PM

    @A J Khan: “Between Islam and Mullah one is to be selected”. Let us get rid of the Mullah, who is willing to perform some of the rituals such as leading prayers, funerals, etc? The reason that the mullah holds ascendancy is that we are not willing to learn Quran and hadees.

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  • Schabboo Khan
    Feb 12, 2013 - 6:11PM

    Al-hamdO’lilla! This news made my day!

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  • Iftikhar Khan
    Feb 12, 2013 - 6:28PM

    This can only be helpful if they simultaneously capture and punish (kill) the terrorists.

    Also it is wrong to attribute the current situation and the rampant killing that has been going on for at least two decades to sectarianism, reason is that the killers are one, same group is killing everyone whether the victim is Shia, police, army soldiers etc. It is an insult to a sunni to call sipah-e-sahaba and taliban as sunni.

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  • Feb 12, 2013 - 6:42PM

    @ Faisal

    The main reason for Mullah ascendancy is due persistent patronization by feudal politicians and power-that- be which is sometimes visible on the power saddle and sometimes it isn’t, though controlling the state affairs behind the curtain.Recommend

  • Singh
    Feb 12, 2013 - 8:08PM

    Why Shia Only?
    Further no comment.

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