KARACHI - Taliban on Tuesday slaughtered six men at a shrine in Gulshan-e-Maymar area in the outskirts of Karachi. They left a note at the crime scene warning that those who will visit the shrines would meet the same fate.
Police said three men were beheaded while the other three were slit half neck. The bodies were found from a mud house adjacent to the shrine of Ayub Shah Bukhari in a relatively deserted area between Ahsanabad and Surjani areas.
Police said the note, claiming to be from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Fazlullah Group and reading “Stop visiting shrines - from the Pakistani Taliban”, was found at the scene along with a bloodstained knife. “People visiting shrines will meet the same fate,” it said.
Police officials said they were considering the possibility of the involvement of Taliban. But senior police officer Amir Farooqi voiced caution over the note, said he would not draw any conclusions until further investigation. Police had detained some six suspects, including the shrine’s custodian for questioning, and sent the bloodstained knife for forensic tests.
Police quoted shrine’s custodian Juman Shah Faqir as saying he had left the shrine Monday night when the victims were present there. And, when he returned to the shrine in the morning, he found the bodies lying in the pool of blood which were later shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for autopsy.
“Their bodies were fresh and it seemed they were killed around midnight,” said Dr Aftab Channar, medicolegal officer. “Their hands and legs were also tied with ropes before slaughtering but the bodies bore no marks of torture,” he added.
The five victims were clad in Shalwar Kameez and one was wearing pant shirt. Three of them, Munawar, Saleem and Javed, were workers of the shrine. Two of the visitors were identified as Ramzan and Abid while the third one was yet to be identified.
The victims were aged between 20 and 50 years. Three of them belonged to Sindhi-speaking family, two were Baloch and one appeared to be from Urdu-speaking family. They were the residents of Khuda Ki Basti, Ayub Goth and Lyari. The annual Urs of shrine had ended on Sunday but they prolonged their stay.
The area falls within the jurisdiction of Gulshan-e-Maymar of District West and is said to be a stronghold of TTP Karachi chapter. Law enforcers avoid patrolling there because a number of cops were gunned down in the area. Apart from the blast at Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine, extremists have had killed several faith-healers in District West. Recently a man was killed in Buffer Zone area and his head was hanged at the bridge of Sohrab Goth in similar practice.
Sufism is a non-violent form of Islam characterised by hypnotic rituals and ancient mysticism that has been practised in Pakistan for centuries, but the insurgents see Sufis as irredeemable heretics who deserve to die. The Taliban espouse rigid form of Islam and reject many traditional forms of Sufi worship, including worship at shrines.
Two Sufi shrines were bombed last year in Sindh. In one of the bloodiest episodes, at least 50 people were killed in April 2011 in a suicide attack on a shrine in the city of Dera Ghazi Khan.
Staff reporter adds from Lahore: Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) Punjab Chapter Secretary General Allama Abdul Khaliq Asadi condemned the incident of slaughtering the pilgrims at the shrine of Ayub Shah Bukhari in Karachi.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, he alleged terrorists’ supporters for committing this act of violence. He criticised the government efforts to hold talks with terrorists and said that these miscreants were killing innocent people including the pilgrims.
He said it was unfortunate that people who respect and love saints were being targeted now. He said in account of their selfless services the people of the Sub-Continent embraced Islam.
Asadi said that Islam’s image had been damaged severely due to such nefarious, inhumane acts. He said, “Because of such brutality the Muslims are now perceived as terrorists. Anti-Islam forces have associated all kinds of violence with Islam and sabotaged the message of equality, peace and tolerance at large.”
Asadi urged the government and other institutions of the state to take wise steps and start strict actions against the miscreants and terrorists immediately. He said this was the crucial time to move against anti-sate elements if the rulers wanted to save Pakistan.
He underscored that pro-Taliban rulers had put at stake the people’s security and were destroying county’s peace.