LAHORE, Sept 12: Two motorcyclists shot dead Maulana Ibrahim Salfi, a central leader of the Jamatud Dawa Pakistan, in Lahore's Township area on Sunday morning in what appeared to be an act of terrorism.

Jamat spokesman Yahya Mujahid alleged that India was behind the attack. "It is no-one else but Indian intelligence agency RAW because we have been working in Kashmir. Such acts cannot stop us," Mr Mujahid said.

He added that the deceased was a central leader of the Jamat and had an important role in its preaching section. Hafiz Abdul Majid told police that his father Maulana Ibrahim Salfi, 47, left Masjid Al-Quds in Sector-B, Township, for his nearby house after leading the Fajr prayer.

He had hardly entered the house when two visitors knocked at the door. As Maulana Salfi opened the door, they opened fire. "It was so swift. We rushed to the door and found our father lying in a pool of blood," Hafiz Majid said.

Maulana Salfi was rushed to the Jinnah Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Quoting doctors, police said the Maulana had been hit by three bullets in the head, neck and chest.

"It is premature to describe it as an act of terrorism," Lahore police chief Tariq Saleem said. He added that the bereaved family suspected the involvement of a rival group in the murder.

"We are also probing the possibility of some personal enmity to have played a part," he said. About the possibility of RAW's involvement, he said nothing of this kind could be speculated at this stage.

The police chief said that three teams had been set up to investigate the matter and arrest the culprits. When the body was sent to the city mortuary for autopsy, a large number of workers and leaders of the Jamat gathered there and the police had to deploy extra security.

Hundreds of people attended the Maulana's funeral prayers. He was buried in a local graveyard. Head of the Jamat Prof Hafiz Saeed Ahmad addressed the gathering and demanded that the government nab the culprits at the earliest.

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