The assassin of Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, a leading alim of Islamabad, remains at large two months after the heinous crime was perpetrated on October 7. A member of the Ruyiat-e Hilal Committee as well as head of a network of Masajid and Madrassahs, Maulana Abdullah was a prominent figure in the federal capital. He was also a vocal critic of US policies in the region.
While the authorities have tried to give a sectarian twist to the killing, the slain maulana’s own son, Abdul Aziz, has dismissed the suggestion, putting the blame instead on government agencies. He said the murder was perpetrated to please the US. This gained further credence when a Committee of Ulama established to probe the murder, said on November 29, that it found no evidence of sectarianism behind the killing.
Headed by Qari Saeedur Rahman, the Ulama Committee demanded to know why the culprit identified by eyewitnesses including Abdul Aziz and arrested soon after the shooting outside Maulana Abdullah’s
house, was released a day later by the police. The Committee also revealed that DSP Raja Saleem of Islamabad had assured them that the accused was being released just for a day. Two months later, he is still at large.
The Committee dismissed government claims that two ‘culprits’ had been arrested in Lahore. It said this was designed to camouflage the government’s own role in the murder and to allow the real killer to go scot free. He may even have been allowed to go abroad.
Maulana Abdullah, imam of Lal Masjid in Islamabad, was critical of US policies in the region, especially its interference in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was also an open supporter of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi mujahid, who currently resides in Afghanistan.
Qari Saeed pointed out that Maulana Abdullah was eliminated at a time when the ulama of Pakistan were becoming vocal in their condemnation of the US, especially after its cruise missile attacks against Afghanistan and Sudan last August. He also pointed out that the ulama of Pakistan were becoming conscious of their responsibility and the evil designs of America vis-a-vis Muslims. There was a countrywide protest after Friday prayers on December 4 against Maulana Abdullah’s killing.
Qari Saeed also revealed that the authorities were not only making efforts to shelve the case but they were also exerting pressure on Maulana Abdullah’s family to ‘forget the matter.’
It is interesting to note that Maulana Abdullah was killed the same day as Hakim Muhammad Said was gunned down in Karachi. The killers of both are still at large. While there may not be a direct link between the two, there is sufficient reason to believe that both murders were politically motivated.
Muslimedia: December 16-31, 1998