Wednesday 30 December 2009

Leading Pakistani cleric makes Blackwater claim

Today in Karachi, the noted religious scholar Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani (above) alleged that US defence contractor Blackwater was responsible for Monday's bloody suicide bombing in the city that killed at least 43 people and wounded a further 90 taking part in a Shia Ashura procession.
Mufti Usmani is no backwoods mullah, living out in the sticks. In fact, he is Grand Mufti of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
According to Wikipedia: "He is also the current President of Darul Uloom Karachi. He is the son of the late Mufti Muhammad Shafi Uthmani, the founder of Darul Ulum Karachi. He is recognized for his knowledge in fiqh, hadith, and tafsir. He has authored a large number of books in Urdu, as well as some notable treatises in Arabic. He is the brother of another notable Islamic scholar, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani and Maulana Wali Razi. Mufti Sahab is also a member of Jamiatul Ulama USA."
After making this ridiculous claim at a press conference, the Grand Mufti went on to say that immediately after the blast, markets were set on fire according to a well thought-out plan and he asked how the perpetrators could get petrol and weapons so quickly.
The Mufti made this remarkable claim despite the fact that the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan has claimed full responsibility for the Karachi suicide attack.
"My group claims responsibility for the Karachi attack and we will carry out more such attacks, within 10 days," Asmatullah Shaheen, one of the commanders of TTP, told Reuters. He is in the leadership of TTP and one of its 20 most wanted figures.
Talking to Pakistan's SAMAA news channel on Wednesday Asmatullah Shaheen said that the suicide bomber’s Jihadi title was Hasnain Mawya. He was apparently an old man, although Shaheen refused to disclose his original name and age. He added that the attack was carried out in the name of reverence to the Companions of the Prophet. This is another way of saying that the victims were killed because they were Shias.
Update: On Thursday, TTP spokesman Azam Tariq denied that his organisation had carried out the Karachi attack. He said that TTP commander Asmatullah Shaheen, who took responsibility for the attack, "acted on his own will". Tariq denied that the TTP attacked public places. This is, of course, untrue. On the same day, the TTP's commander in the Punjab, Khalilullah, was arrested by police in the company of a 17-year-old suicide bomber. According to reports, they were planning to attack the flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border crossing into to India in two days time. Police say Khalilullah was responsible for the Moon Market bombing in Lahore on 8 December that killed more than 40 people and injured another 100, many of them women and children.

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