BAHAWALPUR, June 15: A mosque Imam was killed while a religious leader sustained critical injuries in violence caused reportedly by sectarian tension between two Sunni sects in Choonawala Mandi near Hasilpur, about 90km from here, on Thursday.

According to reports reaching here, the trouble started when Hafiz Qamar Javed, prayer leader at local Masjid Ahl-e-Hadith, burnt some trash near his mosque. The fire attracted neighbours, including people from the rival sect, who propagated that Javed was burning pages from Quran.

Within no time a huge mob turned up at the scene and attacked Javed. When Ahl-e-Hadith’s local leader Master Muhammad Sadiq came to his rescue, he was also beaten up severely. The assailants left the scene when the two fell unconscious.

Police rushed to the scene after getting information. In a hurry, a police vehicle hit and injured Muhammad Nadeem (13). The mob then damaged the van and thrashed ASI Muhammad Nawaz, who also sustained injuries.

Later, the Hasilpur DSP and tehsil nazim reached Choonawala and managed to disperse the mob. The injured were rushed to the Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur, where Hafiz Qamar Javed succumbed to injuries while Master Muhammad Sadiq was in precarious condition.

Following an appeal, Choonawala traders’ president, shopkeepers pulled down their shutters to protest the ‘blasphemous act’.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that a case under the Blasphemy Act had been registered against deceased Hafiz Qamar Javed and injured Muhammad Sadiq while no case was registered against the assailants.

DPO Arif Nawaz was not available for comments.

STRIKE: Shopkeepers of Dubai and Al-Karim plazas pulled down their shutters to protest the registration of cases against some traders by Kotwali police.

The police had registered the cases on the report of Wasim Azam who had accused the traders of assaulting them.

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