PRIME CAUSE OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE: Mosques, Imambargahs in Karachi built on encroached land


Naimat Khan

KARACHI: There are religious seminaries, mosques and Imambargahs in the port city of Karachi which have been built on the encroached lands, reveal official documents of Sindh Government, which also see this unchecked illegal construction as a prime cause of surge in sectarian violence.

The Summary floated by Sindh Home secretary, Dr Niaz Ali Abbasi for the approval of CM Sindh Qaim Ali Shah calls for regularization of religious seminaries, Imambargahs and mosques throughout the restive metropolis in order to control the menace.

“Madrassahs, Imambargahs and Mosques are being constructed on government lands, encroached private lands, greenbelts, service roads and amenity plots unauthorized and illegally without completion of codal formalities” the summary reads, adding such unchecked illegal construction inter-alia is promoting sectarian violence and contributing towards law and order situation in the province.

Well informed sources in the Sindh Home Department told this scribe that different media and police reports compelled the department to suggest ways, some of which need very ‘strong will’ from the weak’ PPP’s Sindh Government due to likely reactions from different sects.


“When the Government will go ahead with regularization of religious seminaries, Imambargahs and mosques while disallowing the new constructions without formalities, the authorities will certainly face the music” said a senior official on the condition of anonymity, arguing the move will also be equally fruitful if the government enables to implement it.

According to Summary Jamaat-ul-Dawah (formerly Lashkar-e-Taiba) of Ahl-e-Hadith, Jafria Alliance, Sipah-e-Muhammad and Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen of Shitte, Sunni Tehreek, Dawat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulemae Pakistan (Noorani) of Barelvi, and Ahle-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Sipah-e-Sahaba), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harkatul Ansar and Jamiat-ul-Ulmae Islam ( Fazal-Ul-Rehman) of Deobandi school of thoughts were directly or indirectly operating mosques and religious seminaries.

To check this growth of illegal and unauthorized construction of Madrassah, mosques and Imambargahs and to control sectarian clashes, the Home Department Government of Sindh has finalized SOPs which say no construction must be allowed by the police and district administration unless required documents are produced by the individuals and organizations and report from concerned deputy commissioner containing details about ownership of land. Consent of owners is acquired.

Verification of character, antecedents of the individuals and organizations interested in construction of Madrassah, Imambargah or mosque by Police Department and Special Branch is also being declared mandatory. Publication of Public Notice in leading newspapers of Urdu, English and Sindhi for objections if any and NOC from Sindh Building Control Authority Cantonment Boards and NOC from the Home Department, Government of Sindh are also among the proposed mandatory steps for the constructing mosque, seminaries and Imambargahs.

Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of police are also duty bound to study the sectarian issues minutely and take necessary actions which include identify trouble-makers, irrespective of their sects, initiate legal action against them in phases, if they are found involved in wrong doings and get provocative sectarian wall chalking removed from your area of responsibility, the summary reads.

The DCs have also been instructed in summary to remove flags of sectarian and defunct parties from roundabouts and public places and take action under the Loud Speaker Act against those who misuse loud Speakers of the Mosques, Madrassahs and Imambargahs.

The summary also suggests the formation of districts and union council level peace committees, which should be comprised of Sunni and Shia notables. “Their signatures may be obtained on a code of conduct which asks for a complete ban on the humiliation of Sahaba and Ahel-e-Bait. In case of violation the violator shall be handed over by the committee to the law enforcing agency.

There shall be complete ban on the slogan -Kafer Kafar. Shia Kafar” and violator shall be dealt with as per law” it states. Complete ban on the provocative sectarian wall chalking and ban on the over-head loud speakers and the ground placed loud speakers has also been suggested.

This is the edited version of news published here



Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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