A Shia leader was brought to a hospital in a critical condition after he was shot and injured in Ali Pur on Sunday night.
Allama Saqlain Naqvi was operated upon on Sunday, but doctors treating him said chances of his survival were slim.
The shooting was followed by several protests demonstrations across Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh districts on Monday.
The protesters condemned the attack and accused the police of negligence. They said despite several requests, the police had not provided adequate security cover to Shia leaders.
Witnesses told police that Naqvi was shot at around 10 pm on his way to the madrassa. They said several bullets had hit him in the chest. Some residents of the area took him to the tehsil headquarters hospital at Ali Pur from where he was later shifted to Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur.
Dr Aziz, the Victoria Hospital emergency director, said that Naqvi’s spinal cord had been severely damaged. He said bullets had pierced across his chest. The patient, he said, was in a coma.
A police official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune that they suspected that the assailants had been monitoring Naqvi’s routines.
Naqvi’s father, also a Shia scholar who filed a complaint with the police, told The Tribune that his son had condemned the detention of some Shia activists in connection with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq’s visit to in Ali Pur and demanded their immediate release.
Some relatives of Naqvi blamed the police. They accused the police officials of being irresponsible when it came to providing security to Shia leaders and gatherings.
Allama Naqvi is the principal of Jamia Daarul Huda Muhammadia.
About 10 cases of attacks on Shia community have been reported since 2011 in the Muzafarhgarh district, police said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.
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