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Cleric detained in Gilgit

March 12, 2006


GILGIT, March 11: Gilgit police on Saturday detained Maulana Qazi Nisar Ahmed, chief of the Northern Areas and Kohistan chapter of the Tanzeem Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaat on Friday night reportedly after he arrived in Gilgit from abroad.

The cleric had gone into hiding since Oct 14, 2005 after the local administration launched a crackdown and sealed two main mosques and arrested more than seven clerics on charges of stirring up sectarian hatred in Gilgit.

More than 100 persons were killed in Gilgit last year’s sectarian riots and the administration ordered arrests of the top leaders of both the sects.

The sources said the detained cleric, Qazi Nisar, had been taken to Islamabad in a PIA flight from Gilgit on Saturday morning. He would later be shifted to the Adiyal Jail in Rawalpindi under the maintenance of public order.

Earlier the Northern Areas’ police chief Sarmad Saeed Khan said that they had contacted the Interpol for the arrest of Qazi Nisar Ahmed, but the cleric had come to Gilgit of his own free will.

The sources said that the administration had released two of the detained clerics, Agha Rahat Hussaini and Maulana Ataullah Shahab, from Adiyala Jail on March 6 after they provided an undertaking that they would work for fostering sectarian harmony in the region.

The sources said the Northern Areas’ administration had issued orders to release two more clerics, Shaikh Nayyar Abbas and Maulana Hussain Ahmed, on Saturday.

SUSPECTS DETAINED: Police have detained more than 16 suspects in connection with two murders in Gilgit on Thursday and Wednesday.

Police sources aid they detained seven suspects after a teenager, Mohammad Ismail, was killed in Jageer Baseen in a dispute over water sharing.

They said they had also detained nine people on suspicion of murdering Azhar Hussain in the Domiyal area.