Rally against target killings ends in confusion, 2 dead


Fareed Farooqui May 28, 2010

KARACHI: Two passengers were badly burnt and one Shia was separately shot dead in confusion after a previously banned sectarian outfit held a rally.

The Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat had just emerged after holding a protest rally at Nagan Chowrangi when it was stopped at Islam Chowk, Orangi Town by the police. The police said that a sensitive area lay ahead and the procession should divert its route. An argument ensued, prompting the police to fire in the air to control the crowd. Some men in the predominantly Shia-neighbourhood lying ahead thought that they were being attacked and fired shots in answer. As a result, in the exchange of fire a Shia man was shot dead.

After this fiasco, members of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat burnt a bus full of passengers. Two people were taken to hospital in critical condition and according to last reports, one of them had died. The tension continued to prevail in the area by the time this report was filed.

The Sipah-i-Sahaba was banned during president Musharraf’s time and is one of the many outfits that resurfaced after renaming itself. In this case, the Sippah renamed itself the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat.

Earlier on, the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat vowed to hold a protest rally in Nishtar Park against the target killings of its members on July 2. The party had requested permission from the authorities, as is required, to protest at Nishtar Park on Friday. But the Sindh government turned it down. The party’s Karachi president Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui negotiated with officials, who then agreed to let them hold it at Nagan Chowrangi in front of their central mosque, Masjid-e-Siddique-i-Akbar.

Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianwi addressed the rally. “During the last 15 months, 23 members from Karachi and 27 leaders from interior Sindh have been killed, including four central leaders,” he said. “The government must arrest the killers. If the government does not grant our demands, we will stage a protest at Nishtar Park on July 2 no matter what. If the government machinery tries to stop us, they will be responsible for the consequences.”

Leaders from all over Sindh came to attend the three-hour rally. “We have the strength, but we still choose to negotiate with the government,” said Ludhianvi. “This proves that we are not terrorists and not against the government.”

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazlur Rahman and JUI-Samiullah group leaders and Alami Majlis Tahafuz Khatm-e-Nabooat leaders also addressed the protest. JUI-S leader Maulana Mustafa Farooqui said that they would suppor the Ahle Sunnat. JUI-F’s Maulana Haleem announced that they would back them for the July 2 rally.

Khatm-i-Nabooat leader Qazi Ehsan condemned the government for failing to provide ulema protection. “The government should realise its responsibility and arrest the killers,” he said.

The Ahle Sunnat group had its own security force, mostly comprising volunteers who were armed. The police and Rangers were stationed there as well, and on rooftops.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.

COMMENTS (2)

irfan khalid | 10 years ago | Reply Dear bilal u condemend ssp at once y does not ask government about justice syed sajjad ali shah ? y he was dismissed at once ? you knw y? bkaz he recognized that ssp is at rite ask govt about the "ithad bain ul muslmain commette" held in 1990 during the period of PML(N); ask government about the comments of that times minister of relegious affair ,remember former prime minister mian Nawaz Sharif,And governer of punjab was also there on that meeting and 400 releagious leaders from all groups including shia,s 4 zaakr He assured to Moulana zia ur Rehman Farooqi Shaheed "Moulana you proved ur self right and m satisfied wid the proves you provided i assure you that all the such books and the writers of these books should be punished" than what happend y government does not take any step? y u should not ask goverment that solve this issue? always commettes are introduced and than no result
Bilal | 10 years ago | Reply If banned organizations like Sipah Sahaba will continue to work under new names then what else than terrorism, one can expect. Such outfits are providing fresh recruits to militants based in tribal areas and are involved in terrorist activities in urban centers. I wonder that how Pakistani army can win war against terror in tribal areas when terrorists are being covertly supported in their surroundings.
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