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.