Thursday May 30, 2024

ASWJ leader gunned down in New Karachi

By Faraz Khan
March 23, 2023

A day after Sunni Ulema Council leader Maulana Mufti Sufi Abdul Qayyum Naqshbandi was gunned down in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, another Sunni leader was shot dead in New Karachi on Wednesday.

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) Saleem Khatri, 55, was attacked by unidentified motorcyclists near the Sindhi Hotel in Sector 5-G of New Karachi. The victim was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

A large number of protesters, including Khatri’s family, other relatives and party workers, gathered at the hospital to condemn the incident and demand the arrest of the killers.

Police recovered seven empty shells of a 9mm pistol from the crime scene. “We have found seven empties, while six of the bullets had hit him,” Bilal Colony SHO Aftab Abbasi told The News. “This wasn’t a street crime incident. It was target killing.”

The victim of Tuesday’s attack belonged to the Barelvi school of thought, while Khatri belonged to the Deobandi school of thought. The area where Khatri was targeted is dominated by both Barelvi and Deobandi groups, and it has seen major clashes and sectarian killings in the past.

Police are investigating the case from different angles. “We’re trying to find out if there’s a tit-for-tat element in the incident or if someone’s trying to incite sectarian unrest. Nothing can be said with certainty until the investigation is completed,” said SHO Abbasi.

Khatri was the ASWJ’s Sindh law adviser. He had left the house for his party’s central office at Nagan Chowrangi and had stopped his motorcycle at a paan shop near his home when four men on two motorbikes attacked him.

The ASWJ condemned the incident, demanding that the government and the law enforcement agencies immediately arrest the culprits. “This is target killing with the intention to incite sectarian unrest in the city,” ASWJ spokesman Umer Muavia told The News.

“Saleem Khatri’s target killing just a day after the target killing of Barelvi leader Maulana Abdul Qayyum clearly shows that a third force is active in the city.”

Muavia advised his party’s workers to remain calm in this situation and not become a part of this “foreign conspiracy”. No case was registered until the filing of this news story.