ISLAMABAD: An office-bearer of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) was shot and killed while two others were injured in an attack near Pirwadhai on Sunday.
The attack, coming on the heels of an attempt on the life of ASWJ leader Aurangzeb Farooqi in Karachi, elicited a sharp response from the group. On Sunday night, Constitution Avenue was teeming with ASWJ supporters protesting the death of their comrade and the continuing attacks on their members.
Protesters carried the body of the deceased towards the Supreme Court. Police initially tried to stop them at the entrance to the Red Zone, near Nadra headquarters, and also resorted briefly to baton charge and teargas, injuring two demonstrators; Mohammad Mubarak and Abdul Sami. However, police later let the protesters through, who then marched to the Supreme Court and began their sit-in there.
ASWJ Central Spokesman Hafiz Onaib Farooqi told Dawn ASWJ Rawalpindi office-bearers Mazhar Siddique, Mohammad Ibrahim and Sher Dil were travelling in a motorcycle rickshaw. As they neared the Social Security Hospital near Pirwadhai, two men on a motorbike intercepted them and opened fire, killing Siddique on the spot and injuring the two others, who were rushed to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for treatment.
“We decided to hold a sit-in in front of the Supreme Court because as many as 18 ASWJ members have been murdered in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi but not a single suspect has been arrested,” he said.
A police official told Dawn that they had decided to allow the marchers to proceed towards the Supreme Court to avoid a clash.
Demand action against those who have killed at least 18 ASWJ men; spokesperson claims SSP ‘unbanned’ by SC
“It is suspected that the men who shot the ASWJ office-bearers were heading in the direction of Westridge and they may still be in Rawalpindi,” he said.
The official claimed that ASWJ members would not be moved and would be allowed to sit outside the Supreme Court for as long as they wanted. However, the party’s leadership would be asked to end the sit-in, they said.
ASWJ chief Ahmad Ludhianvi also arrived in the capital to lead his party’s protests on Constitution Avenue. Addressing the workers in front of the Supreme Court, Ludhianvi said that workers of ASWJ were being killed all over the country.
“It seems some elements don’t want peace in the country. We are sitting here and will not move unless our issues are resolved,” he said.
Ludhianvi said that those who killed ASWJ workers should be hanged. “If those who attacked Gen Pervez Musharraf – who has defamed the country – can be hanged, why can’t those who attack ASWJ workers be hanged,” he asked, rhetorically.
ASWJ central leader Allama Masoodur Rehman Usmani claimed that the Supreme Court had unbanned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), but “some elements” are not ready to accept this.
According to Hafiz Onaib, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had declared that the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan was not a banned organisation during a hearing on Nov 18, 2014.
The demonstrators demanded compensation for the families of ASWJ workers who had been killed in different incidents and demanded that ASWJ office-bearers be provided security by the government.
Late on Sunday night, PM’s Special Adviser Irfan Siddiqui initiated negotiations with the protesters. He assured the ASWJ that all incidents of attacks on ASWJ members would be investigated and assured them that a committee would be formed to look into the matter. At this assurance, the sit-in was disbanded and the deceased’s body was dispatched to Murree for burial.
Published in Dawn February 16th , 2015