Photos of renowned Pakistani Islamic preacher Tariq Jamil weeping and praying at a memorial service last week for Taji Khokhar, a Rawalpindi gangster, have created outrage online, the Friday Times reported.
In addition to being a frequent television and media presence, Jamil is also affiliated with the proselytising organisation Tableeghi Jamaat, the report said.
Taji Khokhar, known for the allegations of criminal activities and land-grabbing against him, as well as his controversial allegiance to the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), died on January 6.
Last year, the Rawalpindi police had placed him in the Fourth Schedule list of terrorists, the Friday Times report said.
Twitter users did not take kindly to what was seen as the preacher's lack of condemnation, it added.
"Maulvi Tariq Jamil has addressed the anniversary of the late Underworld Don of Rawalpindi. But I have never seen him praying in a slum or in a poor house," one commentator wrote about the popular religious figure's conspicous attendance of Khokar's funeral.
Others questioned why such a popular figure was "providing legitimacy to every fraud/thug in this country", while another alleged that he was a "maulana on hire".
"Sometimes i don't understand the hatred against Maulana Tariq Jamil, He's a principled and disciplined maulana obviously he'll go for the prayers... as long as he's getting paid well He's a maulana on hire, will work for state, khan, nawaz, army or whoever pays or has powers," the commentator said.
In 2020, Jamil received condemnation for blaming the coronavirus pandemic on "shamless, scantily dressed women" during a fundraising telethon.
He later apologised for his remarks.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.email@example.com)
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