The burgeoning of madressahs at the outskirts of the city meant that trained and taught peshimams were readily available for hire to lead prayers elsewhere in the city. It is for this reason that most prayer leaders in posh localities of the city and in many cantonment areas belong to the Deobandi sect, have their own madressahs, teach there, or have been deputed by those madressahs.
Sunni Tehrik spokesman Faheem Sheikh denies this, but argued that the Sunni Tehrik was founded to reclaim and recover dozens of mosques in Karachi that had been established by members of the Barelvi sect but ‘captured’ by Deobandi organisations. In many instances, Deobandis invaded these mosques by using militants from banned outfits.
“Allama Saleem Qadri was against sectarian jihadi organisations involved in acts of terrorism and violence against other sects. He was punished for speaking against them,” says Sheikh. “A few years later, the first-tier leadership of Sunni Tehrik and other Barelvi clerics were killed in a suicide attack by these militants during an event at Nishtar Park on the day of Eid Miladun Nabi.”