Thousands of mourners attend funeral for Pakistani cleric gunned down in broad daylight

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Masoodur Rehman Usmani and wounded his driver in the neighbourhood of Ghauri Town on Friday

By AP

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Masoodur Rehman Usmani. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
Masoodur Rehman Usmani. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

Published: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 6:28 PM

Thousands of mourners attended a funeral for a Pakistani Muslim cleric gunned down in broad daylight on the outskirts of the capital, Islamabad, police and a spokesman for the cleric's organiation said on Saturday.

The funeral of Masoodur Rehman Usmani was held a day after unidentified gunmen shot and killed him and wounded his driver in the neighbourhood of Ghauri Town, according to a statement from Islamabad police.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which is a rare occurrence in this part of Pakistan. Police said they were using closed-circuit TV footage to track down the assailants, and vowed that they would be arrested and brought to justice.

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Authorities in Islamabad have stepped up security by deploying additional police and some embassies were advising their nationals to avoid visiting the area where the funeral for Usmani was to be held.

Usmani was a deputy secretary at the Sunni Ulema Council, which emerged after Pakistan outlawed the Sipah-e-Sahaba extremist group.

Sunni clerics in their speeches at the funeral asked the government to ensure the arrest of those responsible for Usmani's killing. Top cleric Ahmed Ludhianvi threatened a sit-in in Islamabad if they were not arrested within the week.

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The funeral was livestreamed on social media by organisers, who wanted to hold the event outside parliament. But police refused their request, and the event was instead held in a busy commercial area in Islamabad.

Pakistan has suffered frequent sectarian violence, but authorities say it is still unclear who was behind the killing, although mourners were seen chanting slogans against neighbouring Iran.


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