Karachi: Pakistan`s Sindh province police have withdrawn all security protocols and personnel provided to various religious leaders and parties in the state due to shortage of trained manpower.
Sindh`s Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Shah issued the directives on Thursday, stating that due to shortage of personnel in the police department all security protocols and personnel provided to religious leaders and parties belonging to different sects were being withdrawn with immediate effect.
Although the official reason for the withdrawal is shortage of manpower but sources say the real reason is a stand-off between the police department and a leading religious party representing the Shias.
The Shia leaders have been demanding the arrest of senior police official Chaudhary Aslam, alleging that he was involved in the killing of prominent community leader Askari Raza.
Raza was recently killed by unidentified gunmen in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area in Karachi.
Sources say the Shia leaders had blamed Aslam and lax police security for the incident and they also organised a vocal sit-in in front of the Governor House last Sunday.
"The IG police was not impressed with the claims of the religious leaders and decided that in future no police protocol or personnel will be provided to religious leaders and parties belonging to any sect or background," the sources said.
In recent years, Karachi has witnessed several incidents of sectarian violence and target killings which have claimed hundreds of lives.