KARACHI, Oct 9: A prominent religious scholar, Mufti Jameel Ahmed Khan, and his associate were shot dead near the Guru Mandir intersection here on Saturday.
The murder of the religious scholar came at a time when most of the city's police were deployed for the security of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who was in the city.
The Hi-ace van in which Mufti Jameel was riding, was intercepted near Guru Mandir intersection and was showered with bullets by unknown gunmen. Mufti Jameel and his associate Maulana Nazeer Taunsvi, sitting in the van, received multiple bullets and died before they could be provided with medical aid.
Mufti Jameel, 52, joined Alami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-i- Nabuwwat in 1970 and was its central spokesman. He was also a religious scholar and a columnist. He leaves behind his wife, three sons and four daughters.
His associate, Maulana Nazeer, 46, came to Karachi nine years ago from Dera Ghazi Khan. He is survived by four sons and three daughters.
"Mufti Jameel was driving the van (CK-5635) and Maulana Nazeer was sitting beside him. The vehicle was intercepted by two gunmen on motorcycle, who sprayed it with bullets and sped away," DSP Jamshed Quarters Shad Ibne Masih told Dawn.
People came to know of the attack after hearing intense firing. Maulana Nazeer was taken to the Civil Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.
Mufti Jameel was taken to the Liaquat National Hospital on the Stadium Road. Dr Shaukat Rajput, Assistant Director of the LNH, told Dawn that Mufti Jameel was hit by six bullets and he died on way to the hospital. "He was dead on arrival," he added.
DIG Investigation Manzoor Mughal said: "Two constables were provided for security of Mufti Jameel. However, he did not carry them with him at the time of attack."
He said that Mufti Jameel with Maulana Nazeer left the office of Alami Khatm-i-Nabuwwat at Purani Numaish intersection for home when they were attacked near Data Lawn on Jehangir Road.
Witnesses said the van was intercepted by two motorcyclists, who were wearing black helmets. They fired and escaped.
As the news of the assassination spread, a large number of people gathered around Binnori Town mosque. They pelted moving vehicles with stones causing disruption in traffic.
Some protesters also gathered on the Business Recorder Road and lit bonfire to close the traffic movement.
The rangers and police reached the spot and brought the situation under control. A spokesman for Alami Majlis Maulana Athar Azeem told reporters in his office that Mufti Jameel was a non-controversial figure and he had been killed by anti-Islam forces and his killing should not be termed sectarian. He asked the people to remain calm and peaceful.
On May 30, this year, another renowned religious scholar, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, was killed near his residence, a few yards from the Binnori Town mosque.
Earlier on May 18, 2000, Maulana Yousuf Ludhianvi, a religious scholar and Naib Amir of Aalami Majlis-i-Tahaffuz Khatm-i- Nabuwwat, and his driver Abdul Rehman were killed while two others, including his son, were wounded in an ambush in Federal 'B' Area.
The Sindh government has announced a Rs2million award for anyone who provides any information about terrorists involved in the attack.
The provincial government has constituted an investigation team headed by DIG Investigation Manzoor Mughal to investigate the terrorist act.