QUETTA: Unidentified men killed Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat-Noorani provincial leader Maulana Iftikhar Ahmed Habibi in Quetta on Wednesday, sparking a wave of protests.
Police said Habibi, who was also a regular Islamic commentator on the Pakistan Television (PTV), was killed by unidentified men when he was on his way to work. Habibi was driving to the PTV Quetta station when the men opened fire, killing him instantly.
His relatives took the body to the Governor’s House to protest. The protesters chanted slogans against the police and demanded the arrest of the culprits. The police resorted to aerial firing in order to disperse them and took around 14 protesters into custody.
No group has claimed responsibility for the murder.
“This is an act of sectarianism carried out by those who had previously threatened to kill Habibi,” Mir Abdul Qudoos Sasooli, the provincial president of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), said. “The murder was carried out by the activists of banned organisations which are operating now under new names,” he said, giving the Balochistan government a 72-hour ultimatum to arrest the murderers.
The JUP will observe a Balochistan-wide strike on Thursday (today) to protest against the murder. Sasooli appealed to traders and the people to observe a shutter-down strike as a protest against Habibi’s assassination and express their solidarity with the JUP in Balochistan.
He said the JUP would contact the Anjuman-e-Tajiran Balochistan to ensure the strike was a success, APP reported. Habibi was a regular commentator of Balochi and Brahvi languages on PTV. His friends said the slain leader had been threatened in the past but the police had not provided him any security.