• Latest victim targeted in Sohrab Goth was JUI-F supporter
• CTD finds no connection in murders of three religious scholars

KARACHI: The targeted killings of three religious scholars in the metropolis in a short span of one month put a question mark over the performance of police, Rangers and many other intelligence agencies, as they appear to have made no headway in the investigations despite their initial findings leading to the involvement of a foreign hostile intelligence agency, it emerged on Sunday.

Two of the three scholars — Qari Khurram Shahzad and Maulana Ziaur Rehman — were targeted in North Nazimabad and Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Sept 6 and Sept 12, respectively.

On Saturday evening, unidentified gunmen shot dead another religious figure, Mufti Qaiser Farooq, who became the third scholar fallen victim to a targeted attack in Sohrab Goth.

After the first two attacks, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Sept 22 linked the two murders and a few others that had taken place within a couple of months in Karachi to an ‘enemy country’.

In this regard, a senior official of the Karachi police was more vocal than the CTD when he openly blamed the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for the murder of Maulana Ziaur Rehman.

Speaking to Dawn on Sunday, CTD’s Raja Umer Khattab said that the three scholars belonged to the Ahle Hadith, Deoband and Barelvi schools of thought.

However, any proven link in the three murders had not been established yet, the officer said.

“We have some leads and we are working on them to unearth the killers and their possible motive,” said the CTD officer.

However, a senior police official, requesting anonymity, said that investigations were under way and their findings could not be made public due to the sensitive nature of the cases.

Earlier, a section of the Indian media had claimed that Maulana Ziaur Rehman was linked with banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD).

However, CTD official Khattab said: “As far as murder of Maulana Ziaur Rehman is concerned, evidence collected so far showed involvement of street criminals in his murder.”

About Maulana Zia’s murder, Karachi police chief Khadim Hussan Rind had said in a statement: “During the preliminary investigation, evidence of the involvement of the intelligence agency of our neighbouring country, RAW, has been found in the incident.”

Latest victim was JUI-F supporter

Mufti Qaiser Farooq, who was gunned down by armed pillion riders outside the Gulshan-i-Umar seminary-mosque near Edhi Centre in Sohrab Goth late on Saturday night, was a member of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

Central SSP Faisal Abdullah Chachar told Dawn that Samanabad police had registered a murder case on the complaint of the victim’s brother against unidentified suspects.

He said it appeared to be a targeted killing. The assailants fired around eight-nine bullets and one of the bullets hit Qaiser Farooq, which proved fatal, he said.

SSP Chachar said the victim was on his way to his native town in Dera Ismail Khan when he was targeted.

Qari Usman, a central leader of the JUI-F, told Dawn that Mufti Farooq was their supporter and a naib imam of a mosque near Port Qasim.

He lamented that the targeted killing of religious scholars had reared its ugly head, urging the authorities to take its notice.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023

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