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Cleric, wife wounded in AJK gun attack

By Tariq Naqash 2017-02-16
MUZAFFARABAD: A Shia cleric and his wife were shot and wounded by assailants near here on Wednesday, in what an official described as a terrorist attack, arguably the first ever of its kind in the communally peaceful region of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Allama Syed Tasawwar Naqvi al Jawadi, 38, secretary general of the AJK chapter of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), was on his way to visit his in-laws in the town of Garhi Dupatta with his 32-year-oldwife, when a black Corolla stopped their motorcycle near Rawani bridge, some 8km from here on Jhelum Valley Road, at around 11:30am, police said.

The attackers fired several gunshots at Mr Jawadi which also hit his wife. The wounded couple was first taken to a nearby health facility, but were rushed to Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan Hospital in Muzaffarabad because of their critical condition.

A team of surgeons operated on them for several hours. Prof Dr Adnan Mehraj, one of the surgeons, told Dawn that because Mr Jawadihad been shot twice in the neck and once in the chest, his condition was extremely critical. He had suffered massive brain damage, he said, but doctors would determine the magnitude of the damage after he regained consciousness.

Mr Jawadi`s wife was shot once in the chest and once in the arm, but her condition had been declared out of danger, the surgeon added.

The incident sent shock waves through the city, which has rarely witnessed sectarian strife, and enjoys harmony between people from different faiths.

Mr Jawadi`s brother-in-law andnamesake, Tasawwar Moosvi, told Dawn that he (Mr Jawadi) did not have a personal enmity with anyone but had been receiving threatening messages for some time.

Muzaffarabad Deputy Commissioner Tehzeebun Nisa stressed that it was a terrorist attack.

`The attackers chased Mr Jawadi from his home and hit him [when] they found a deserted road,` she said.

Following the attack, scores of MWM members took to the streets across the AJK capital, burning tyres and blocking traffic on almost all main arteries.