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RAWALPINDI: After building pressure on the local administration, a brother of Mumtaz Qadri on Saturday announced that there would be no chehlum as it was already held on March 27 in consultation with the family and religious parties

Malik Dilpazeer Awan, the Qadri’s brother, made the announcement at a press conference along with a number of local religious leaders at Jamia Ghousia Ziaul Uloom in Rawalpindi.

Flanked by Sunni Tehreek’s Shahdab Rizvi, Jamia Mohammadia custodian Pir Syed Ziaul Haq Shah, Pir Syed Jalal Shah, Pir Syed Inayat Shah, Mr Awan made it clear that there would be no chehlum of his brother on April 10.

“We held the chehlum jointly and the reports in social media about divisions among religious parties and family of Mumtaz Qadri are baseless. We have decided to observe the death anniversary of Mumtaz Qadri on March 1 every year. But on every Monday, we will arrange special prayers at his grave,” he said.

However, he said a group of religious parties had formed a political party, Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasoolullah. “We have decided to register the party and launch a campaign for membership,” he said.

Mr Awan said they had no links with elements responsible for damaging public and private property in Rawalpindi and Islamabad after the chehlum of Qadri on March 27. “But we would participate in any movement launched by any political party over Panama Leaks,” he said.

Shahdab Rizvi said the government fulfilled its promise of releasing 95 workers of his party. He said 10pc of the arrested workers were released on bail while cases against the others were being discharged.

In an anticipation of the chehlum and a protest rally to D-Chowk in Islamabad by the supporters of Qadri, the Red Zone of the capital was partially sealed on Saturday.

Containers were placed on different roads, including Murree Road, Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy, Third Avenue, Constitution Avenue and Jinnah Avenue.

Besides, heavy contingents of police were deployed in the area. Containers were also brought to the entry points of the capital adjacent to Rawalpindi, including Faizabad and I.J. Principal Road, to block them in case of any rally.

However, there was no protest gathering by the supporters of Qadri.

A police officer said the police met the family of Mumtaz Qadri on Friday night to inquire about their plan to observe the chehlum. “The family assured the police that only relatives and villagers would attend the event.”

Besides, the family also said they had nothing to with anyone who announced to observe the chehlum and stage a protest rally.

The officers of the police and the local administration also met a Pir from Rawalpindi who had announced to come to Qadri’s grave in the Athal village of Islamabad with a rally of 50,000 people, he added.

During the meeting with the Pir, the officers succeeded to get an assurance that he and his followers would not observe the chehlum and visit the grave.

Similarly, the officers also met a politician from Sargodha, who had announced to observe the chehlum and come to the grave along with a large number of seminary students. The politician also dropped his plan on the request of the officers.

Sources said Quran khawani was held in the mosque of Qadri’s village shortly after Fajr prayers on Saturday in which relatives, villagers and seminary students took part. Later, his family members and close relatives visited the grave.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2016