MUZAFFARABAD: Shia cleric Allama Tasawur Hussain Jawwadi was critically injured in an attack on Wednesday after unidentified men opened fired at his motorcycle near Muzaffarabad.
Jawwadi is the general secretary of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) Pakistan, Azad Kashmir chapter.
He was on his motorcycle with his wife when gunmen opened fire at them near Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (Pima) Hospital, some eight kilometres from Muzaffarabad.
The cleric was shifted to Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayid Al-Nahyan Hospital along with his wife for treatment.
Doctors said Jawwadi was in critical condition and is being operated upon. However, his wife is out of danger.
Secretariat police station SHO Raja Sohail told The Express Tribune that they have collected six empties of bullets of 9mm pistol from the crime scene and are trying to locate the car the attackers were travelling in.
“The entire area of Jhelum Valley has been cordoned off and all entry and exit points were blocked in order to nab the attackers,” said SHO Khan.
Opposition leader in AJK Legislative Assembly Chaudhry Muhammad Yaseen condemned the incident and asked the government to arrest the culprits.
“Those who are behind the incident are enemies of peace. People would not allow the miscreants who attacked Jawwadi to play with the communal harmony of the region,” Yaseen added.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf parliamentary leader Abdul Majid Khan also slammed the incident and appealed the AJK government to arrest the attackers.
“Those who are behind the incident should be given stern punishment,” he said.
Following the news of attack, people protested by burning tyres on roads, causing inconvenience to the common people, schoolchildren, patients and other commuters.
Meanwhile, the government of AJK has completed arrangements to shift the injured Jawwadi to Islamabad through helicopter on Thursday for treatment.
In July last year, armed assailants attacked a Shia cleric in Bani Gala area of Islamabad, killing his wife and injuring him, said the police.
Three armed men entered the house of Sagheer Ahmed Saifi and opened fire, killing his wife Sobia Saifi and injuring the cleric, the police said. A dispute over possession of a seminary land where the cleric served as an imam and a teacher could be the motive behind the attack, the police said.