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February 28, 2014

Eminent religious leaders killed in 25 years

Sports

February 28, 2014

LAHORE: Although the history of deadly sectarian violence in Pakistan had started with the June 6, 1963 incident at Sindh’s Khairpur district, where at least 116 participants of a Moharram procession were killed, innumerable leaders and activists hailing from both Sunni and Shia sects have met unnatural deaths especially during the last 25 years or so.
Gunned down in Karachi on Thursday, noted religious scholar, Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi, is just the latest addition to the long list of clerics who have fallen victims to targeted sectarian killings till date.
Before we proceed with the dates and names of clerics killed so far, it must be added that a few lucky ones including the likes of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and former PPP Federal Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi etc have managed to live on by defeating death.Here follows the list of some of the major incidents that have claimed the lives of prominent Shia and Sunni leaders/known activists during the last quarter of a century:
On March 30, 1987, a globally-acclaimed Sunni religious scholar, Allama Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, had succumbed to his injuries after battling with death for 22 hours at a Riyadh hospital. He was seriously injured in a bomb blast. Zaheer had survived the blast and after initial treatment at Lahore’s Mayo hospital, he was transferred for further medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.
On December 19, 1990, Sadiq Ganji, the sitting Director General of Iranian Cultural Centre was shot dead in Lahore.
On March 7, 1995, Dr. Muhammad Ali Naqvi, a founder president of Imamia Student Organization, was killed.
On June 15, 1996, noted Shia leader and poet, Mohsin Naqvi, was killed in Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Town.
In January, 1997, the main leader of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi was killed in a bomb blast near Lahore’s Sessions Court.
On February 20, 1997, an attack on Multan’s Iranian Cultural Centre had killed Director Agha

Mohammed Ali Rahimi.
On August 5, 1998, the then Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan Chief, Arif Hussain Al Hussaini, was killed in Peshawar. After having prayed at a local mosque, he was confronted by two gunmen and shot.
On April 12, 2000, an attack on a Shia Majlis in Shia leader Sajid Naqvi’s hometown had killed many of his blood relatives.
On July 26, 2001, Managing Director Pakistan State Oil, Shaukat Raza Mirza, was killed in a targeted killing incident in Karachi. Mirza was a Shia.
On July 30, 2001, Syed Zafar Hussain, Director Research and Development in the Ministry of Defence, was also killed in a targeted killing incident in Karachi.
On October 10, 2001, the Sindh Karachi Sindh Board of Technical Education Chairman, Syed Hassan Zaidi, was gunned down in Karachi too.
On December 21, 2001, Ehteshamuddin Haider (the elder brother of former Sindh Governor and an ex- Pakistani Interior Minister Lt. Gen. (R) Moinuddin Haider), was shot dead by assailants near Soldier Bazaar in Karachi.
On March 4, 2002, one of the country’s most well-renowned nephrologists, Dr. Alay Safdar Zaidi, was assassinated in Karachi.
On May 7, 2002, noted religious scholar and television personality Professor Dr Ghulam Murtaza Malik was shot dead by two gunmen in Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Town. His driver and a policeman had also perished in this attack.
On August 30, 2012, a Shia Sessions Judge, Zulfiqar Naqvi, was killed in Quetta.
On October 6, 2003, Sitting MNA Maulana Azam Tariq, chief of the Millat-i-Islamia (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan) was assassinated by unidentified gunmen along with four others in Islamabad.
On May 30, 2004, a senior Deobandi religious scholar and head of Islamic religious school Jamia Binoria, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, was gunned down in his car in Karachi.
The April 2006 bombing at Karachi’s Nishtar Park had also claimed the lives of many Sunni scholars commemorating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
On July 14, 2006, Allama Hassan Turabi, a Shia religious scholar and chief of Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan, was killed in a suicide attack near his Abbas Town residence. The cleric’s 12-year-old nephew had also lost life in this incident. The suicide bomber was later identified as Abdul Karim, a Bangladeshi, resident of a shanty town in the central city area of Karachi.
On September 15, 2007, unidentified assailants assassinated a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Maulana Hassan Jan in Peshawar. Maulana Hassan was a former MNA and Vice Chairman of Wafaqul Madaris. The noted religious leader had also issued a decree (fatwa) against suicide attacks, and was among the Pakistani clerics who had travelled to Afghanistan in 2001 to convince Mullah Omar that he should expel Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan to avoid American attacks.
On August 13, 2008, a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) cleric Haji Namdar was killed. Haji was the leader of a banned local outfit “Amr Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkar.” Haji Namdar had earlier escaped a suicide attack on May 1, 2008.
On January 10, 2009, a fierce gun battle between rival sects in Hangu had seen the killing of Mufti Rustam, the deputy chairman of the local chapter of the Ahli Sunnat Wal Jamaat. Official sources said that at least 26 people had lost lives in this incident.
On January 26, 2009, Hussain Ali Yousafi, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, was allegedly shot dead by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Quetta.
On February 19, 2009, a Shia leader Sher Zaman was gunned down in Dera Ismail Khan. Tension had then led to imposition of a curfew in the city and Army called in to quell the riots, which had actually sparked after a suicide bomber had killed at least 30 Shias and injured another 157 who were attending Sher Zaman’s funeral.
On June 12, 2009, a leading Sunni Barelvi scholar Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi was assassinated at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa situated on Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Road in Garhi Shahu locality. Six mnore people were also killed in this suicide attack. Known for his anti-Taliban views, Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi had been known all his life for his candid views.
On January 1, 2012, Askari Raza, leader of a Shia political organisation “Pasban-e-Jaferia,” had breathed his last in a sectarian-motivated target killing in Karachi by two armed men. He was critically injured on the New Year’s Eve. At least 15,000 Shia protestors had then staged a sit-in outside the Sindh Governor House on the first day of January to protest the assassination.
On January 30, 2012, Haji Akhunzada, a commander of a banned militant outfit called “Ansar-ul-Islam,” and three others were killed following a suicide attack outside the stalwart’s home on the outskirts of Peshawar.
On September 26, 2012, Mohsin Anwar Kazim, a member of the Shia community, was gunned down outside his office in Quetta city.
On November 6, 2012, Agha Aftab Haider Jaffari, a prominent Shia leader was shot dead in Quetta.
On January 1, 2013, Malik Mukhtar Hussain, a prominent licensed organizer of Shia processions and majalis in Chiniot, had breathed his last after he was gunned down in an Imambargah on December 31, 2012 by six armed men.
On January 9, 2013, Engineer Syed Ali Hyder Jafri, a 48-year-old shia activist and owner of a private school, was shot dead in North Karachi. Same day, yet another well-known Shia leader Dr. Riaz Hussain was gunned down in Parachinar. In Khuzdar, again on the same day, a Hazara Shia leader, Zawar Shah, was targeted lethally outside his shop.
On February 18, 2013, a prominent Professor of Vitreoretinal Surgery, Dr. Syed Ali Haider and his 11-year-old son, Murtaza, were shot dead, in Lahore. It is suspected that the attacks were carried out by the banned Sunni extremist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
On December 6, 2013, firing at Lahore’s Ravi Road had claimed life of an “Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat” leader Maulana Shams ur Rehman.