Top cleric escapes, two guards killed in gun attack in Pakistan’s Karachi

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Mufti Taqqi Usmani's Vehicle targeted by unidentified armed men (Photo Courtesy: Arab News)
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Police chief of district east, Amir Farooqui, meeting Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani at hospital after assassination bid on his life here on Friday, March 22, 2019. ( Photo by Sindh Police)
Updated 22 March 2019

Top cleric escapes, two guards killed in gun attack in Pakistan’s Karachi

  • Darul Uloom’s Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani unhurt in attack on convoy by four gunmen
  • Scholar Maulana Amir Shahabullah in critical condition

KARACHI: Prominent Pakistani cleric Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani narrowly escaped while religious scholar Maulana Amir Shahabullah was critically wounded in a gun attack on their convoy in the port city of Karachi on Friday, police said.

Two guards were killed in the attacks that city police chief Dr Amir Shaikh said could have a sectarian motive but were more likely an attempt to kill a major religious figure in Karachi “to terrorise the people.”

Both clerics are affiliated with the Darul Uloom seminary in Karachi. Usmani is also a former judge of the Supreme Court Shariah court and a permanent member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, an organ of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“Mufti Taqi Usmani has remained safe in the attack,” Shaikh said, adding that both incidents occurred within ten to twenty minutes of each other on the Nipa flyover in the seaside metropolis.

The head of Karachi’s Counter-Terrorism Department, Raja Umar Khattab, said four gunmen on two motorbikes opened fire on two cars that were travelling together. He said Usmani was the main target.

Saud Usmani, Usmani’s nephew, said the cleric’s wife and two grandchildren were also present in the car but escaped unhurt “as the driver continued to drive despite being hurt.”

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has ordered the immediate arrest of the attackers and sought a report from police.

FM Qureshi tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 03 July 2020

FM Qureshi tests positive for COVID-19

  • A number of high officials have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan
  • On Wednesday, Qureshi met with PM Imran Khan and US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19, days after holding high profile meetings, including one with the US special representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in Islamabad.

“This afternoon I felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined myself at home,” Qureshi said on Twitter. He said he felt healthy and would carry on his duties from home.

In the last few days, Qureshi has had contact with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament and in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Qureshi also met Khalilzad on Wednesday when the US special representative traveled to Pakistan to discuss progress on the Afghan peace process.

Pictures released from those meetings showed Qureshi and others wearing face masks.

Pakistan has reported 221,896 cases of the coronavirus and 4,551 deaths. The country has continued to see over 4,000 new cases on a daily basis, despite daily testing numbers falling.

A number of high officials have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan, including Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed and the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Asad Qaiser.