BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Thousands mourn Pakistan cleric
The mourners were urged to show restraint
Thousands of mourners in Pakistan have attended the funeral of a cleric who died in controversial circumstances after being arrested last week.

Qari Mohammad Noor was detained in a raid on an Islamic school in the city of Faisalabad for alleged links to the al-Qaeda network.

One cleric told mourners that Mr Noor was tortured to death.

More than 60 people have been arrested in Pakistan in the past month as part of operations against al-Qaeda.

Pakistan's Human Rights Commission has called for an investigation, the Associated Press news agency reports.

"Reports that his body showed marks of torture is a matter of immense concern," a statement from the commission said.

Police on Wednesday confirmed Mr Noor's death but gave no details.

'We demand'

Maulana Ghafoor Hyderi, secretary-general of Jamia Ulema-e-Islam, one of the main parties in the pro-Islamic MMA alliance, said the death was the result of torture.

"We demand government action against the officials responsible for his death, failing which we have a right to take revenge," he said.

But he also appealed to the mourners to show restraint while they waited for a government response.

The findings of a post-mortem conducted by a team of three doctors at a local hospital have not been made public.

A statement read out by an MMA spokesman in Faisalabad alleged that Mr Noor had nearly 180 marks on his body.

Police have not confirmed whether the cleric was in their custody or that of another state agency when he died.

Sources at the private hospital in Faisalabad where the post mortem took place say that Mr Noor's body arrived under a police escort from Lahore.

Two men arrested with Mr Noor have been released.

They are the Faisalabad city president of the MMA, Obaidullah Gormani, and another Islamic cleric, Imam Din.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific