QUETTA: Unknown armed men set a shrine in Mach on fire on Tuesday night. According to police, two rooms of the shrine were destroyed and all religious books turned to ashes. The ceiling of one of the rooms caved in.
The shrine was built in 1948 in memory of Pir Tahir Al Gilani Al Baghdadi, who migrated from Baghdad and settled in Mach, 50km southeast of Quetta.
Although police have raided a number of places to catch the suspects, no arrests have been made so far. According to the custodian of the Ghausia Alia shrine, when the armed men entered the shrine a man, whom he identified as Din Mohammad, resisted them, but they beat him up and caused grievous injuries.
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After receiving information about the incident, followers of Pir Tahir rushed to the shrine. After an effort of two hours, they put out the fire and saved the shrine from complete destruction.
CONDEMNATION: The Jamaat-i-Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (JASP) has condemned the incident and held demonstrations in Quetta and Mach.
In Quetta, a large number of JASP activists marched on different roads and later gathered outside the press club. They raised slogans against people involved in the incident.
Addressing the protesters, JASP leaders Mufti Mohammad Sajid Qadri, Qari Noor Mohammad and Allama Ghazi Kamal termed it a conspiracy to fan sectarianism. They called upon the federal and provincial governments and the army chief to ensure strict action against the culprits.
They also called for extending the Zarb-i-Azb military operation to entire country.
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2015