KARACHI: Police on Wednesday blamed the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for the targeted killing of a cleric, who was shot dead in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Tuesday night.

SSP-East Irfan Bahadur said that Shaikh Zia Ur Rehman, 45, administrator of the Jamia Abi Bakar Al-Islamia, had gone to a park in Block-14 for a routine walk when armed assailants targeted him and fled.

Karachi police chief Khadim Hussain Rind said in a statement on Wednesday that the Counter-Terrorism Department collected evidence and their preliminary investigations suggested that Indian intelligence agency RAW was involved in the killing.

He did not elaborate.

However, a source said that Maulana Zafarullah, the father of the deceased cleric, was associated with a militant group in early ‘90s. He died in a car crash several years ago.

Meanwhile, a murder case was registered at the Sharea Faisal police station against unknown persons on the complaint of victim’s cousin Muhmmad Abdullah.

Investigators believed that it was an act of terrorism aimed at sabotaging the peace on the occasion of Rabiul Awwal.

Jamia Abi Bakar is considered the city’s largest seminary of Ahle Hadith school of thought.

Seminary spokesperson Muzammil Siddiqui told Dawn that Maulana Zia had studied in Madina.

He said the slain cleric was a central leader of the Ahle Hadith Jamaat. He is survived by two daughters.

Funeral prayers for the slain cleric will be held on Thursday (today) in Model Colony.

The Ahle Sunnat Committee demanded immediate arrest of the killers of Maulana Ziaur Rehman.

Shaikh Zia was the second religious scholar murdered in the metropolis in a short span of one week. Earlier, Qari Khurram Shahzad, also a seminary teacher, and two other teachers suffered bullet injuries in an attack in North Nazimabad. Later, Qari Shahzad died at a hospital during treatment.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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