ISLAMABAD: Armed assailants attacked a Shia cleric in Bani Gala area of Islamabad late Saturday night, killing his wife and injuring him, police said.
Three armed men entered the house of Sagheer Ahmed Saifi at around 10:30pm and opened fire killing his wife Sobia Saifi and injuring the cleric, the police said.
A dispute over possession of a seminary land where the cleric served as an imam and a teacher could be the motive behind the attack, the police said.
“Apparently, it seems to be a sectarian attack but it has yet to be ascertained,” Talib Moula, one of the investigation officers of the Bani Gala police station told The Express Tribune. The police, however, are looking into all aspects of the incident, he added.
He rejected the notion that it could be an attempted robbery incident.
Saifi, the imam and teacher at the Masjid Gulistan-e-Ahle Bait, and his wife along with their children were present at their residence located inside the seminary when the attackers opened fire on them.
All five children remained safe during the attack.
The body and the injured were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).
The police said that one of the attackers, identified as Waqas alias Vicky, first opened fire at Sobia when she saw him lurking in the yard, while she was heading to kitchen for taking milk.
As she screamed and ran back to the room, the police said, Waqas opened fire on her with a 30-bore pistol.
As Saifi rushed outside, Maula said, Waqas opened fire at him at least four times.
Maula said that Saifi survived but his wife died on spot.
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He added that the Saifi had recorded his statement before the police and he revealed the identity of the attackers as well as their alleged motive.
“The suspects wanted to occupy the seminary,” he stated in the FIR, while revealing the reason of enmity.
In the FIR, he added that he could identify the attackers if produced before him.
As per the statement, Saifi told the police that Waqas and his accomplices attacked upon the instigation of a cleric, Maulvi Sher Muhammad, and another man, identified as Dr Ulfat, over possession of the seminary.
He informed the police that the suspects had earlier threatened him to leave the Madrassah.
Following the altercation, they had registered a case with the Bani Gala police against Saifi.
The officials said that details of the previous case were being gathered and the police was also trying to arrest the suspects nominated in the case.
Presently, a case, No. 113/16, under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 109 (abetment) 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code has been registered against the suspects on the complaint of Saifi at Bani Gala police station.
Maula said that no one has so far been arrested in the case.