Leading prayers: Incumbent to continue until new arrangement

Contender allowed to deliver Friday sermon; six people who suffered injuries in Wednesday shooting now out of danger.

Our Correspondent July 27, 2012


The current prayer leader at a mosque in a village in Gakhar Mandi will continue in his job until an agreement is reached on a new arrangement over the administration of the mosque, a council consisting of three residents of the area and the police decided on Friday.

On Friday, the prayer leader, Abdul Hameed, and his brother, Abdul Rehman, who wants to replace him, shared responsibilities. The former led the daily prayers and the latter delivered the Friday sermon.

Muhammad Aslam Cheema, a member of the council that is negotiating a settlement in the matter, told The Express Tribune that Rehman had agreed to let his brother lead the prayers until the council reached a decision in the matter. Nazar Muhammad Cheema and Advocate Rana Abid are other members of the council.

Cheema said Rehman was released after the tentative agreement between the two brothers on Thursday.

He had been arrested by the police over an assault complaint against him by Hameed.

SHO Abdul Haq Waraich confirmed that Rehman was released “on assurance given by some notable people of the area on Thursday”. The FIR accused Rehman and his accomplices of breaking into Hameed’s house, next to the mosque, and beating him and his son with sticks on Wednesday night. Hameed told The Tribune that he would file an application with the police in a couple of days for withdrawal of the complaint.

The FIR says Abdul Rahman, a retired Pakistan Navy major subedar, had wanted to take over the administration of the mosque, built in Benka Cheema village by his father, from his brother. It said the Wednesday’s incident had followed several brawls over the matter.

However, another FIR related to the matter would stand, according to Cheema, who is the complainant. The FIR accuses four men of shooting in the direction of several people, including Cheema, approaching the mosque for taraveeh prayers on Wednesday. It says six people, including Cheema, were injured in the shooting. Cheema and two others have been discharged from Gujranwala DHQ hospital and the other three are still under treatment. Doctors treating them have described their condition as out of danger.

The complaint said the shooters were Hameed’s supporters.   Hameed has denied any association with them. He says he and his son had gone to Gakhar Mandi to seek medical treatment when the firing took place.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.


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