Suicide bomber kills anti-Taliban cleric Allama Naeemi


Security officials and rescuers gather at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa, an Islamic seminary and mosque, after a suicide bomb attack in Lahore. — AFP

At least three other people are killed in the attack at a seminary in Lahore.
By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:56 AM PDT, June 12, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A prominent Pakistani Muslim cleric who had been publicly condemning the Taliban and its reliance on suicide bomb attacks was killed Friday by a suicide bomber who detonated explosives inside the cleric’s office at a seminary in Lahore. At least three other people were killed in the attack.

Sarfaraz Naeemi, a national figure in Pakistani society and a renowned religious scholar, had spoken openly of his support for the ongoing military offensive to root out Taliban militants from the Swat Valley and surrounding regions. His death sparked immediate protests on the streets of Lahore by followers expressing rage against the Taliban and angered at the lack of security given by police to Naeemi and his seminary.

The bombing in Lahore was one of two devastating attacks in Pakistan today, as a wave of retaliatory strikes continued to hit the country in the wake of the government’s bid to crush the Taliban movement. In the city of Nowshera, 60 miles from Islamabad, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a mosque at an ordnance depot, killing at least six people and wounding at least 90.

Experts have said the Taliban’s strategy is to cause enough mayhem throughout the country to erode public support for the six-week long offensive. The military has methodically cleared the Taliban out of most of the Swat Valley and nearby regions like Buner and Lower Dir, and has begun to direct its forces toward pockets of militants in the Bannu region just outside the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where pockets of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have entrenched themselves.

But as the Pakistani government has made substantial gains against Taliban fighters, it has struggled to cope with the outbreak of suicide revenge attacks that now are happening almost daily.

Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi’s profile

Saturday, June 13, 2009
By the Correspondent of The International News Pk, LAHORE.………………………………………....

DR Sarfraz Hussain Naeemi was born in 1948 in Lahore. He was the third child and second son among four sons and six daughters of Mufti Mohammad Hussain Naeemi, the founder of Jamia Naeemia Lahore.

His ancestors migrated to Pakistan from Muradabad (UP) in India. Dr Naeemi learnt Holy Quran by heart (HIfz) before completing his schooling and later passed Dars-e-Nizami and did M.A. (Islamiat). He went on to pass LLB and Ph.D. (Islamic Studies) from Punjab University. He also passed an Arabic teaching course from Al-Azhar University, Cairo. He was awarded a gold medal for his Arabic degree by Punjab University.

Well versed in Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages, he had been writing columns in newspapers on religious issues and remained editor of Monthly Arafat, Lahore.

He was a soft spoken and humble man who was loved equally by friends and foes, especially by a large number of his students. He had a dynamic personality leading a number of organizations and platforms like Tahaffuz Namoos-e-Rislat Mahaz (TNRM), a group of over 20 Sunni parties working for the cause of Shariah enforcement, Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris Deeniya (ITMD), an association of seminaries boards affiliated with different schools of thought, Naeemian Association. He was secretary of Tanzimul Madaris Pakistan, the seminary board governing all seminaries affiliated with Barelvi School of thought, just  opposite to Deobandees.  He remained member of Council of Islamic Ideology, Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen Committee Punjab, Muttahida Ulema Board and others.

He was known for a bold stance on global Muslim issues like victimization and suppression of Muslim movements and invasions on Muslim countries. He raised voice against Gen Musharraf’s decision to provide logistic support to US-led coalition in the war on terror for which he was first removed from his job as Khateeb in Auqaf Department and then arrested briefly. He was again arrested for protesting against the blasphemous caricatures by European press and served few months in prison.

Dr Sarfraz Neemi assumed the position of principal of Jamia Naeemia in 1998 after the death of his father Mufti Mohammad Hussain Naeemi. He has been survived by four daughters and one son, Raghib Hussain Naeemi, who will succeed him as principal of Jamia Naeemia. His funeral will be held on Saturday (today) at Nasir Bagh at 5 pm. He will be buried beside his father’s shrine inside Jamia Naeemia.

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