Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Pakistani cleric's murder stokes sectarian tension
Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:26am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Zeeshan Haider
LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - The son of one of Pakistan's most prominent anti-Taliban Muslim clerics fears that his father's murder by a suicide bomber a week ago could spark more sectarian violence in a country already riven by conflict.
Sitting by his father's rose-covered mud grave, Raghib Naeemi is still receiving a stream of mourners a week after his father, Sarfraz Naeemi, was blown up in his office at his mosque complex in the eastern city of Lahore.
His murder came as security forces have been fighting to stem the growing influence of the Taliban, a fight that has sent jitters across Pakistan and raised international concern for the stability of the nuclear-armed U.S. ally.
Naeemi, 61, was a senior cleric of the moderate Barelvi branch of Islam and an outspoken critic of the Pakistani Taliban and their suicide bombing campaign.
"I have tried my best to restrain followers of my father and I will continue to do so but we are fearful that this could turn into a sectarian issue. The government should take concrete measures to avoid it," Raghib told Reuters in an interview.
"We will not allow the conspiracy to stir sectarianism to succeed," Raghib said later in a sermon on Friday.
Government forces have secured much of the scenic Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, which the Taliban had virtually taken over and turned into a stronghold.
The government plans to extend the offensive to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud's main stronghold in South Waziristan, an ethnic Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border.
"WE COULD LOSE PAKISTAN"
Naeemi had unequivocally supported the government offensive and was an outspoken critic of Mehsud.
"My father was targeted because of his fatwa that suicide attacks are forbidden in Islam," said Raghib, who is now running Naeemi's religious school. A fatwa is a religious decree.
"My father believed that this is the last war for the survival of Pakistan. If our army or government lost this war then we would lose Pakistan," he said.
A day after Naeemi was killed, the military sent aircraft to attack Mehsud and his fighters in South Waziristan in retaliation.
Pakistani Sunni Muslims are predominantly moderate Barelvis but the hardline, austere Deobandi sect grew in strength in the 1980s during an Islamisation drive by then military ruler General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq.
Pakistan, with the support of the United States and Saudi Arabia, fostered radical Deobandi groups and encouraged them to fight Soviet forces then occupying neighboring Afghanistan. Continued...
View article on single page
Global crisis pushes 100 million into hunger
Iran's presidential election
Aftermath of Iran's election
Up-to-the-minute news, photos and video of the aftermath of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election in Iran. Full Coverage
More International News
Iran's Khamenei warns protest leaders after vote
Two Koreas talk on factory park; U.S. tracks ship
Air France to compensate crash victims' families
Aid gets into Sri Lanka camps, few people get out: U.N.
Iraq confident about security after U.S. troops leave towns
More International News...
Pakistanis urged back to areas cleared of Taliban
Featured Broker sponsored link
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
'Something different" happening with new flu - CDC
Iran's Khamenei warns protest leaders after vote | Video
"Twilight" star Pattinson hit by taxi as flees fans
Woody Allen eyes Carla Bruni for film role
HIGHLIGHTS-Iran leader Khamenei's address to nation
Senate keeps car sales stimulus in war bill
PETA miffed at President Obama's fly "execution" | Video
Two Koreas talk on factory park; U.S. tracks ship
Stanford in court in massive fraud case | Video
Bailed-out banks' CEOs used jets for personal use: report
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Salinger wins first court round
The trouble with Tweeting about Iran
Tornado touches down in Nebraska
Supreme leader: halt Iran protests
Internet video: Iranians mourn
Princes reporting for photo-op duty
Stanford surrenders, faces court
Obama kills a pesky fly
Iranians mourn with mass rally
Berlusconi in escort allegations
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
We want to hear from you
Join the Reuters Consumer Insight Panel and help us get to know you better
Please take a moment to complete our survey
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.