One arrested after cleric Muhammad Ali Mirza survives attack in Jhelum

Published March 15, 2021
Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza was delivering a lecture at a religious academy when he was attacked. — Photo: Twitter
Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza was delivering a lecture at a religious academy when he was attacked. — Photo: Twitter

Popular cleric Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza survived an assassination attempt at a religious academy in Punjab's Jhelum district, police said on Monday.

A suspect who allegedly attacked Mirza with a sharp-edged weapon on Sunday afternoon was taken into custody and a case was registered against him.

Mirza, a resident of Machine Mohallah of Jhelum city, has regularly been uploading his recorded as well as live videos of lectures and speeches on his social media pages and has 4.6 million followers on his YouTube channel.

In the First Information Report (FIR) of the incident registered on Mirza's complaint under Section 324 (attempted murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code, the cleric stated that he delivered a weekly dars (Islamic lesson) at a research academy situated in a building.

After Mirza delivered the lecture on Sunday afternoon, a man charged towards the cleric with a sharp-edged weapon "with the intention of murder" in the presence of many people, the FIR said. According to a police spokesperson, the incident occurred when Mirza was having photos taken after the lecture.

Mirza in his complaint said although the attacker was reaching for his neck, he moved quickly and was struck on his shoulder instead. The assailant then made a second attempt to reach Mirza but was stopped by two men present in the hall, according to the FIR.

Police spokesperson Chaudhry Mohammad Imran of City police station said Mirza had sustained a minor injury in the incident and was allowed to go home after being given first aid.

He identified the assailant as a 21-year-old resident of Lahore who had come to Jhelum "with the intention of murder".

After being arrested from the spot, the suspect accused Mirza of "deceiving people" and strongly took offence to his teachings, the police official said.

Last year in May, Jhelum police had arrested and booked Mirza for uttering derogatory and instigating remarks against known religious scholars. He was released a day later after a local court accepted his bail plea.

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