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Minister mobbed, manhandled

June 25, 2005


KARACHI, June 24: Minister of State for Religious Affairs Dr Aamir Liaquat Husain and provincial minister for Planning and Development Shoaib Bukhari were mobbed and manhandled when they visited the Jamia Binoria in the city’s SITE area on Friday to attend the funeral of two slain religious scholars, Mufti Atiqur Rehman and Mufti Irshad.

According to eye-witnesses, enraged youths broke the windscreen of the ministers’ car and attacked them when they came out of the car.

Officials of the Jamia Binoria came to the ministers’ help and guided Dr Aamir to the girls’ hostel, a police official said.

Mr Shoaib Bukhari was taken to the room of Mufti Naeem in the Jamia.

Following the incident, paramilitary Rangers were deployed in the area and they took positions on roofs of nearby houses.

The Jamia officials suggested to the police and Rangers that to ensure safety of the ministers they should take them out when the mob dispersed after the burial.

According to law-enforcement personnel, Dr Aamir made frantic calls saying that he was badly wounded and his life was in danger.

Police sent in a jeep with tinted glass to take the minister out, but he refused to board the vehicle. Later, an APC was brought into the premises of girls’ hostel and the minister was taken out.

A spokesman of Jamia Binoria, Ghulam Rabbani, told reporters that the ministers had called them saying that they wanted to attend the funeral. “We advised them not to visit the place as it might enrage the crowd”, he said; adding that the ministers acted against the advice and decided to come.

City police chief Tariq Jamil denied that any incident of manhandling of ministers had taken place saying that the crowd only chanted slogans.

A statement issued by the Rabita Committee of MQM condemned the incident.

It said that the ministers had gone to attend the funeral of the slain religious leaders. But when they reached the place some miscreants raised provocative slogans and attacked the ministers. When Dr Liaquat went inside the Jamia armed men barged into the place and attacked Dr Aamir who suffered injuries, the statement said.

The attackers, it said, also snatched the rifle of the gunman of Dr Aamir Liaquat and detained the two ministers in the Jamia for quite some time. The Rabita Committee appealed to officials of the Jamia to watch against miscreants who had penetrated into their fold.