The prominent Sunni scholar Maulana Adil Khan was shot dead in Karachi’s Shah Faisal area last night, with Prime Minister Imran Khan calling it “an attempt by India to create sectarian conflict across the country.”
Maulana Adil Khan was the principal of Jamia Farooqia. His death follows sectarian tensions in Pakistan over the cursing of Sahaba during Muharram and several anti-Shia marches that followed.
Although officials are blaming India for the murder many people on the street and on social media are blaming “Shia militants” for the killing although at present there is no evidence for this.
According to police, the scholar was sitting in a Toyota Vigo, with the vehicle parked outside Shama shopping centre when suspects on motorcycles came up to him and fatally shot him and his driver.
“The motorcyclists targeted him. It seems that he was being followed by terrorists,” said police officials.
Police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said that three men were on a motorcycle. One got off and fired the shots. “We are gathering statements from eye-witnesses,” he said.
After analysing the footage, the Counter Terrorism Department said three people had fled the site. “There might have been more nearby as back up,” he said. “This is a conspiracy to incite sectarian violence,” he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet: “Condemnable targeted killing of Maulana Adil of Jamia Farooqi in Karachi this evening. My government has known and I have repeatedly stated this on TV, since last 3 months [that] India attempts to target kill Aalims from Sunni and Shia sects to create sectarian conflict across the country.”
The Prime Minister said that authorities have prevented a number of such attempts preemptively in the last few months.
“Our intelligence organisations and law enforcement agencies will nab culprits of this murder. Also, our ulema from all sects must ensure people do not fall prey to this nefarious Indian design to destabilise Pakistan,” he added.
Reacting to the development Wifaq-ul-Madaris, the largest federation of religious seminaries in the country, said that the attack on Maulana Adil was an attack on the nation’s peace and security.
“The martyrdom of Maulana Dr Adil Khan is an irreparable loss to the world of Islam,” it added.
The Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sahibzada Noor-ul-Haq Qadri also expressed his heartfelt grief and sorrow over Maulana Adil’s assassination. In his condolence message, the minister said the murder of the scholar was a loss to the entire Muslim Ummah.
Renowned religious scholar, Mufti Taqi Usmani responding to the incident, said that the attack was a conspiracy to instigate violence in the country. “It is the government’s responsibility to immediately arrest the killers and avoid such a situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq, reacting to the incident said that anti-Pakistan elements had attacked the religious scholar. “Not only Pakistan but the entire Muslim ummah [has been deprived of a religious scholar],” he said. The JI chief demanded that the killers of Maulana Abid be immediately arrested.
Muḥammad Adil Khan was the general secretary of the Jamia Farooqia seminary in Karachi from 1986 to 2010.
Between 2010-18 he was a professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia but returned to Pakistan after the death of his father Saleemullah Khan and became the rector and a Professor of Hadīth at the Jamia Farooqia.
He was also a member of the working committee of the Wifaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia and wrote a book on the history of Pakistan, entitled Tārikh-e-Pakistan.