PESHAWAR, Pakistan — On Friday, August 19, well-known religious scholar Sheikh Ghulam Hazrat was killed, along with his father Sheikh Khwaja Muhammad Hazrat, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital of Peshawar. The victims were traveling when unknown gunmen targeted their car; no group has claimed the death of the Afghan clerics.
The dead bodies of the two Afghan clerics were moved to the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan for burial. Thousands of people attended the condemnation gathering, where angry followers and fellow religious scholars addressed the mourning gathering in Pakistan, and blamed “Khwarij”. Khwarij is a term used for the hardliner extremist groups within Islam who are creating division.
The deceased Sheikh Ghulam was well known for his debates condemning the “Wahhabis, Salafis and Ahl e Hadis” sects of Islam, who have the most extreme interpretation of Islam, and distance themselves from their fellow Shiite, Sunni, Brelvi, Hanafis and Sufism Muslim schools of thought.
Addressing his fellows, the cleric once clearly stated abour threats to his life in an audio message, “You’ll know the value of Ghulam Hzarat [the religious scholar] when I am fired and martyred”, said the deceased scholar in his file audio available on ArmedPolitics.
The Afghan Taliban has condemned the incident, and called upon the Pakistani government to investigate the death of “Afghan Refugees”, religious scholars across different areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; this statement has joined the incidents to divide Muslims on the basis of their sect,s through such target killings back at home in Afghanistan.
Sectarian groups in Pakistan
Pakistan is well known for the sectarian violence among different Muslim sects, which has resulted in deaths of thousands of people across the country. The Pakistan based religious militants and the Pakistani Taliban [influenced by the religious schools of thought interpreted by Al-Qaeda] have claimed targeting the Sufis/mystic poets, religious leaders, and Shiite sectarian groups in different attacks. The motive of such attacks sometimes come as a reaction against the religious groups who are anti-Shiite, in the form of target killings of their leaders.
Even those clerics who were neither supporting or condemning the Pakistani-Taliban fight in the country were targetted in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.