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Pakistani Sunni body elects new leadership

The Pakistani radical Islamist body Sunni Tehrik has elected Engineer Sarwat Ejaz as its new chief.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 12:20 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Sunni Tehrik, a prominent Pakistani radical Islamist body whose leadership was twice eliminated through violence, has elected Engineer Sarwat Ejaz as its new chief.

Locked in a constant squabble with other Sunni groups, the Sunni Tehrik reportedly draws support from among the business communities, including Bohras, Khatris and Memons, who migrated from Western India when Pakistan was created.

Ejaz takes over six weeks after most of the Tehrik leaders were killed in an explosion at a congregation in Karachi's Nishtar Park April 11.

The government has ordered an inquiry, which is still investigating the incident.

Rival Sunni Muslim organisations, belonging to the Wahabi school of Islam, are suspected to be behind the blast. Sunni Tehrik is the only radical organisation in an otherwise moderate Barelvi group.

Both Barelvis and Wahabis, who belong to the Deoband school, have their theological headquarters in Bareilly and Deoband in India's Uttar Pradesh.

The organisation's founders were killed in an explosion in 2001, causing tension in parts of Karachi.

Shahid Ghauri was elected as second-in-command to Ejaz, while Shakeel Qadri will replace the late Akram Qadri as the frontline leader, Daily Times newspaper reported.

The announcement was made late Saturday night during the party's congregation, called the Shuhda conference to mark the Chehlum (completion of 40 days of mourning) of those who died at Nishtar Park.

The April 11 incident was captured on large screens at camps organised at the congregation.

Participants condemned the failure of the authorities to make headway in the investigations.

They adopted a resolution saying that the party would launch a protest campaign next week that would continue till the authorities showed they were 'serious' about solving the mystery.

"We will opt for a hard line stance if those responsible for the blast are not arrested," said the resolution.

First Published: May 22, 2006 12:20 IST

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