On September 18, 2014, the dean of Karachi University’s Faculty of Islamic Studies was gunned down near NIPA in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
Nearly four months later, on January 28, 2015, the Karachi Police Chief at the time, Ghulam Qadir Thebo, held a press conference where he claimed the police had apprehended the murderer of two professors, including Prof Shakeel Auj.
The alleged shooter, identified as Mohammad Mansoor, was said to be a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, better known as the MQM.
On April 29, three months after the police had apprehended Mansoor, another assistant professor, Dr Waheed-ur-Rehman was killed in the vicinity of the Federal B Area.
Two days after the assistant professor’s murder, on May 2, the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) released a video claiming responsibility of killing Pakistani and Bangladeshi bloggers, including Prof Shakeel Auj – whose name was on the top of the list.
In the nine-minute video, the AQIS chief, Asim Umar, threatened to execute more people who, according to his beliefs, were blasphemers.
One murder, two killers
A few months back, law enforcement agencies finally arrested a hardened AQIS militant, whom they had been searching for since long. The arrested militant is the son of a known political figure in Karachi.
A high level security source – who has personally interrogated the militant – revealed that the militant has admitted to killing Prof Shakeel Auj. The source also claimed that the accused militant was involved in the murder of Prof Waheed-ur-Rehman.
Another counter terrorism source disclosed that the militant had planned to execute two more professors affiliated with the Karachi University (KU), but was arrested before he could carry out the attacks.
After having arrested two suspects for the same murder, on November 6, the incumbent Additional Inspector General of Police for Karachi Mushtaq Mehar hinted at an important development in the two murder cases.
How Prof Auj became a target
The game started in September 2012 when an alleged letter written by some KU students surfaced with a call for a ‘fatwa’ against Prof Auj.
The alleged letter mentioned that “he [Shakeel Auj] makes fun of Hadees and Quranic teachings and also negates them”.
The alleged fatwa mentioned in the letter was said to have been issued by the Dar-ul-Uloom Karachi, declaring Prof Shakeel Auj a ‘kafir’ (infidel) and ‘murtid’ (apostate).
However, after the appearance of the letter, Dar-ul-Uloom Karachi issued a clarification stating that the ‘fatwa’ mentioned in the letter was never issued by their institution and that they never issued any such statement about Prof Auj.
In the meantime, Prof Auj was receiving threatening messages and approached the KU administration as well as the police for help. A case was registered and a professor was apprehended, only to be later set free by the courts.
The militant gang
Further interrogation of the political leader’s son led to several high profile arrests. It was also revealed that the group comprised of 10 to 12 youngsters and that the political leader’s son was the second-in-command. The ring leader is also in the custody of security forces.
A high level security source revealed that there were three engineers in the gang who were working on anti-drone technology. The source also disclosed that AQIS had planned to carry out attacks on the intelligence agency’s office, the Corps Headquarters and other important military offices.
Sources further add that the gang had hatched a plan to assassinate important military and intelligence officers as they would exit the Malir Cantonment, where many of them reside. For this, they had completed their reconnaissance of the targets, their routes, and times of departure.
Yet another security source claimed and narrated a different story that the group was working on drone technology and planned to carry out deadly attacks on sensitive military buildings.
The high level security source also claimed the members of the gang were affiliated with AQIS as well, as the ring leader had been arrested from Karachi and other parts of Sindh.
Some important arrests were also made from inside the premises of Malir Cantt.
Those who were arrested from the garrison area are relatives of retired Air Force officers and while they are said to not have been involved in any terrorist activities, they are charged with associating members of a banned outfit [AQIS] and working for them.
— Courtesy Geo News