Tension and fear gripped the old city area of Rawalpindi after fresh sectarian violence that claimed two lives, including a cleric late Sunday.
Mufti Amanullah, Naib Mohtamim (deputy administrator) of Taleemul Quran, was laid to rest amid violent protests here on Monday.
The funeral prayer of the cleric was preceded by burning of an imambargah in the old tyre market near the seminary and killing of a man. The body of the deceased, identified as Amir Ahmad, was found on the rooftop of the imambargah but his association with the imambargah could not be ascertained.
The cleric was shot dead on Dhamial Road while returning to his seminary on a motorcycle after attending a foundation-laying ceremony of another seminary at Lala Rukh Colony on Chakri Road.
Club-wielding students of seminaries and activists of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) forced traders to close down their shops in and around Raja Bazaar and Fawwara Chowk. The sticks-wielding mob also roamed the streets, interrupting the traffic and sporadically pelting vehicles with stones but the police on duty avoided to stop them from taking the law into their hands.
The angry mob also shouted slogans against the government and the city administration for their failure to arrest the cleric’s killers. They demanded the administration to arrest the killers and award exemplary punishment to them.
The protesters, who had placed barricades on Fawwara Chowk blocking routes leading to the seminary, also did not allow the media persons to cover the funeral prayer of the cleric. Some of them shouted at the reporters who tried to cross the barricade saying “you are agents of infidel forces”.
At some places, police chased the protesters to disperse them. A heavy contingent of police, a prison van and Rescue-1122 ambulances had also been placed near the seminary, where the funeral was held. The District Headquarters Hospital had also been put on high alert. The mob was, however, not allowed to reach Col Maqbool Hussain Imambargah.
“We demand the district administration to take concrete steps to stop target killings and ensure peace in the city ahead of the forthcoming Muharram,” said Qadir Mir, a traders’ association member of Raja Bazaar.
The seminary was burnt down during Ashura procession last year killing at least nine people.
Tension in Attock
Serious sectarian tension gripped Attock on Monday after the funeral prayers of Mufti Amanullah, a native of the city, were held and later when he was buried amid strict security at his grandfather’s religious seminary. Earlier, when Amanullah’s body was brought to Attock, a serious law and order situation was created as a number of his followers chanted slogans against a particular sect. However, police rushed to the scene and secured the central imambarghs of the city to avoid any incident of violence. As a result, local markets were closed down while police blocked the all roads leading to the imambarghs.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2014.