KARACHI: Police on Thursday detained a suspect said to be emotionally disturbed who tried to meet prominent religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani at his Darul Uloom, Korangi, while he was armed with a dagger.

Mufti Taqi, the vice president of the seminary, had survived an attempt on his life two years ago.

Investigators in their initial probe ruled out the possibility of an attempt on his life or to spread terror.

Awami Colony police said that a man identified as Asim Siddiqui came to Darul Uloom, Korangi, during Fajr prayer to meet Mufti Taqi Usmani apparently for “dua and to get a taaveez”. Security guards frisked him and found a dagger on him and handed him over to the police for investigation.

Korangi SSP Shahjahan Khan said that the held suspect had come from Gulistan-i-Jauhar and offered the morning prayer at the famous seminary. Later, he asked Mufti Taqi that he wanted to talk with him separately for some five minutes. Mufti sahib said he did not have time then and said “please come at Zohr prayer”.

The senior officer said that when he returned, a police guard and around three attendants of the scholar saw that he had a small dagger in his hand. They got hold of him. During the initial probe, it transpired that he appeared to be a “psychologically disturbed person”. He was unhappy over some family issues.

Investigators rule out the possibility of an attempt on the scholar’s life or to spread terror

The SSP said that “so far no case has been registered against him”.

Mufti’s audio message

Meanwhile, Mufti Taqi — in an audio message — confirmed that the incident took place and that the suspect wanted to speak to him separately.

However, he claimed that he had got up to meet him when he brandished the knife. “Those around me quickly caught him,” he said, adding that he was not harmed. “An investigation is under way to determine the facts and the suspect’s motive,” he said.

CTD probe

A team of police’s Counter-Terrorism Department interrogated the suspect in police custody.

CTD official Raja Umar Khattab said that the initial probe revealed that it was neither an attempt on the life of the scholar nor was it an act of terrorism.

The suspect had an estate agency in Jauhar. He had first married at an early age. However, he married another woman but was not happy with his married life. He told the investigators that he was under the influence of “black magic” in which both his wives were allegedly involved. He claimed that he carried the small dagger as he feared that his wives might attack him.

The CTD official said that the suspect had no criminal record. He is suffering from some psychological problems and has been getting medicines from doctors for the last two years. He has studied up to intermediate and has no seminary background. He told the investigators that he wanted to get a taaveez (amulet) from Mufti Taqi to avoid the purported adverse impact of “black magic”.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed phoned Mufti Taqi to ask about his well-being. In a tweet, he said that he was “deeply concerned” about the “attack against Mufti Usmani”.

“Mufti Taqi Usmani is an eminent scholar and the pride of Islam. I will pray for his life,” he said.

In 2019, Mufti Taqi Usmani had survived an attempt on his life. However, his police guard and a religious scholar were shot dead in the attack which took place near the Nipa flyover.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2021

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