ShiiteNews: A protest sit-in outside Chief Minister House was peacefully ended and the slain civil rights campaigner Khurram Zaki was laid to rest after police booked outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Aurangzeb Farooqi and Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid in the murder case on Sunday.
Zaki, 40, was shot dead and two others were wounded in an armed attack in North Karachi late on Saturday night.
On Sunday noon, scores of Zaki’s friends and family members took his coffin to CM House in a procession and staged a sit-in there. Although the police had blocked roads leading to CM House by placing shipping containers, the protesters removed all obstacles and reached CM House, which is located in the so-called red zone.
Zaki’s family, including his wife, teenage daughter, son and brother, members of the civil society, including activist Jibran Nasir, leaders of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen and Shia Ulema Council and leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, including Dr Farooq Sattar, were present in the sit-in.
Charged youths shouted slogans against the government and demanded the immediate arrest of the killer of the slain rights activist. They also demanded that immediate action be taken against banned sectarian outfits.
They were full of praise for Zaki who they said sacrificed his life in the struggle against religious extremism.
DIG-South Munir Shaikh and Karachi Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah reached the scene to hold talks with the protesters.
The DIG told Dawn that the protesters demanded registration of a murder case against ASWJ leader Aurangzeb Farooqi and Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz as they claimed that they had given death threats to the slain activist.
Later, the participants ended their sit-in when the government representatives showed them a copy of the FIR that contained the names of the two clerics.
The funeral prayer of the rights activist was offered near CM House. He was laid to rest in the Wadi-i-Hussain graveyard on the Superhighway.
The FIR was registered by the Sir Syed police under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on the complaint of Jazib Qamar, who survived the attack.
According to the content of the FIR, the complaint said that Khurram Zaki was targeted at the behest of Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid and Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi of the ASWJ as the victim had taken part in protests against them.
SSP-Investigation (central) Arab Mahar said that the duo had been booked for abetment, but their names would be deleted if no concrete evidence was found during investigation.
Investigators had collected 19 spent bullet casings fired from two 9mm pistols from the crime scene. A forensic examination of the casings revealed that the weapons had not been used in the any past targeted killings.
“We have got some clues… We are focusing on a possible sectarian motive,” said SSP Mahar.
However, Raja Umer Khattab of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said that it did not appear to be a “simple case of sectarianism”.
The victim had taken active part in multiple protests against the Lal Masjid cleric and ASWJ leader. He was also the complainant of a case against Maulana Aziz, he added.
The CTD official recalled that prominent rights activist Sabeen Mahmud had also taken part in similar protests and was killed by Islamic State-inspired militants who did not like her such activities.
Zaki was also associated with the media, hosted a religious programme on a private TV channel. He left behind two widows and three children.
Qaim vows to arrest killers
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah expressed his gratitude to the family of Khurram Zaki for ending their sit-in and assured them that the killers would be brought to book very soon.
He said the FIR of had been lodged according to the statement of his heirs.
Mr Shah said that the Rangers and police were fighting against terrorists. “The sit-ins at CM House is not the solution of this problem,” he added. He said that some “vested interests and pseudo political elements” always tried to take political mileage from such sit-ins by hijacking their cause and turning it into their personal gains.