Sunday, September 16, 2007

Murder of Maulana Hasan Jan and Tarbela Bombing

Picture source: The Post, Islamabad, September 17, 2007

Mourners attack Akram, Sherpao at cleric’s funeral
By Javed Aziz Khan: The News, September 16, 2007

PESHAWAR: Police commandos had to rescue the NWFP chief minister and the federal interior minister on Sunday morning when tens of thousands of angry religious students, attending the funeral prayers of Maulana Hassan Jan, attacked them with stones while chanting slogans that the government was responsible for the killing.

Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani and Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, along with a number of other ministers, had to return without offering the funeral prayers after over 50,000 angry admirers of Maulana Hassan Jan, who had gathered at the Qayyum stadium to attend his funeral prayer, turned against them.

Large contingents of the police and the Frontier Constabulary (FC) escorted Sherpao and Durrani to their vehicles when the VIP enclosure was attacked by the angry mob. Security personnel tried to push back the protestors but failed.

The furious protestors ransacked the VIP enclosure of the stadium. They smashed windowpanes of dressing rooms and the commentary box and uprooted seats and attacked the two VIPs with seat bars. A stone hit Chief Minister Akram Durrani.

Hundreds of policemen and security officials were deployed around the stadium to stop any terrorist attempt but they acted as silent spectators when the mob became furious.

The spacious Qayyum Stadium was jam-packed with people, who thronged from all over the country to attend his funeral prayer.

Tens of thousands of his admirers were seen mourning the death on the Bara Road and the surroundings of the stadium after they failed to enter the football ground.

The entire province on Sunday observed a day of mourning on the call of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal against the cold-blooded murder of the respected religious scholar, who was known across the Muslim world for his moderate views. All shops in Sadar bazaar remained closed.

Maulana Hassan Jan was later laid to rest in Darul Uloom Ahsanul Madaris in Chamkani.

The Maulana was shot dead by unidentified terrorists near Wazir Bagh after three bearded men took him along to solemnize the Nikah of their relative on Saturday evening. He received two bullets – one in his chest and another on his head.

He was the first among the religious scholars who had openly opposed suicide attacks against the public and security personnel in any part of the country and termed it "un-Islamic". He had received a number of threats after issuing the decree during a convention of religious scholars organised by the MMA government a few months ago.

Despite having a soft corner for Taliban and Mullah Omar, he used to criticize Osama bin Laden, saying he was a sentimental person.
According to his son, Fakhrul Hassan, the three men were bearded and seemed to be seminary students, who had got an appointment from Maulana Hassan Jan a day earlier.

The identity of the three persons, who took him along, is still a big question mark. Police are yet to arrest them despite being seen by many people, including the family members of the deceased.

"It is strange as to where Maulana Sahib stayed after leaving his house at around 6 pm. He was shot dead at around 6:45 pm. He normally used to mention his appointments in his diary. But we haven't got any information about those three persons from his diary," Capital City Police Officer Abdul Majid Marwat told The News.

Brief Profile of Maulana Hassan Jan from Frontier Post (September 15, 2007)

Maulana Hasan Jan was born in Prang area of District Charsaddah in 1938. He received his early education in Charsadda and had also received education for five years in Saudi Arabia. Maulana Hasan Jan was the head of a major religious seminary in Peshawar and had also been the former member of the National Assembly. He was the deputy president of the alliance of religious seminary ‘Wafaq-ul-Madaris’, now in conflict with the government over the issue of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid. Maulana Hasan Jan had surprised many when he defeated the veteran Pakhtoon nationalist leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan in the 1990 elections as opposition candidate. Maulana Hasan Jan, a candidate of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman Group) was backed by all major and small religious groups and political parties of the district Charsadda. However, Asfandyar Wali Khan, elder son of Wali Khan regained the National Assembly seat in the 1993 elections in a close contest.

By Shakeel Anjum: The News, September 16, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The forensic examination of the body parts of the suicide bomber, who blew him up inside the SSG Mess in Tarbela, has been completed. Sources said the findings are now helping the investigators make headway in identifying the bomber and the group responsible.

"An arm, believed to be that of the suicide bomber, was sent to Nadra on Friday (September 14) for fingerprinting to determine if he was a Pakistani national," the sources said. “The result is awaited.”

"Meanwhile, the mechanism used to trigger the blasts by the suicide bombers in the last three terrorist strikes, all aimed against the Army, seems to have convinced those investigating the attacks that all the three suicide bombers belonged to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group led by Fazlur Rehman Khalil."

Officials of intelligence agencies involved in the investigations believe that Abu Ali Tunisi, a Jehadi hailing from Tunis and a key leader of al-Qaeda, has managed to bring the rebels of four militant groups – Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba – under the folds of al-Qaeda. They have plans to launch a string of terrorist activities, targeting the Pakistan Army, government personalities and installations to weaken the government which, they claim, is supporting the US, is engaged in anti-Islamic activities and eliminating the al-Qaeda.

The last three suicide attacks, one on the ISI employees’ bus, the other in RA Bazar in Rawalpindi and the latest in Tarbela, were all aimed directly against the Army.

The sources privy to the process of ongoing investigations in the three suicide attacks against the Army said the acts of terrorism had been divided in three categories. "The group comprising the toughest motivation category is to hit the Army installations by suicide bombing. They include trained, skillful and hardliner terrorists.

“The second category of suicide bombers attack personnel of law-enforcement agencies and government personalities.

“The third is deputed for carnage through car bombings or blasts through remote-control," the sources said.

Abu Ali Tunisi, who is believed to be presently based in North Waziristan, is coordinating with the militant groups and individuals. “The man is motivating these individuals and telling them that they are close to bringing about a revolution through their so-called Jihad and convincing them that suicide bombings are justified in Islam and are a part of Jihad," sources told The News. The sources also said that these factions believe in Islamisation through terrorism. They have been given separate tasks to hit military installations, law-enforcement agencies and key government personalities within a specific time limit that is set by their high command.

However, it is not known if Abu Ali Tunisi is considered as the high command by these terrorists or if there is some other individual who is referred to as the high command. He also said that all these groups, identified and classified under three different categories of terrorist groups, follow their own techniques for achieving their objectives and use different mechanisms to attack their targets.

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