Karachi violence claims three more lives
KARACHI: Armed clashes between two rival groups in Godhra Colony of New Karachi continued into Friday, claiming three more lives and taking the death toll in the two-day gunfight to six while no concrete action was seen being taken by the city’s security administration to stop the violence.
A semblance of normality that returned to the area after the nightlong gun battle between the groups disappeared in the afternoon on Friday with the killing of a Sunni Tehrik activist.
A police official said that the armed clash that broke out over a dispute on the administration of a community-run hospital in Sector 11-G of New Karachi commonly known as Godhra Camp on Thursday evening led to the firing from both sides — the Sunni Tehrik and the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly known as the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan.
“The situation was quite normal until the second half of the day. Armed riders on a motorbike targeted a young man named Muslim Qadri in Sector 11-G,” said an official at the North Karachi Industrial Area (NKIA) police station.
“Hit by a single bullet in the head, he died on the spot. The victim was a resident of the same area and his body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities.”
A spokesperson for the Sunni Tehrik claimed that the victim was their party activist and targeted by “the banned outfit” only for his association with the ST.
“Our workers are being targeted in the streets. They do not even feel secure inside their homes, which are also being attacked in Godhra,” he added.
In the overnight clashes, two people were killed and another was wounded as the area people witnessed intense firing while the police were unable to arrest any culprit.
The officials said that the areas of Sector 11-G and 5-G remained the worst-hit where armed men were seen freely moving on roads attacking rivals.
“Two men in their mid-30s identified as Kamal Iqbal and Sami Shafiq were killed near Bashir Chowk in Sector 5-G,” said an NKIA police station official.
“Both were residents of the same area and were not associated with any political or religious group. We believe they were killed in crossfire between the two groups.”
The intense firing in the area also left another man wounded. He was identified as 31-year-old Faheem Baig and was being treated at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
A spokesman for the ASWJ said that the “armed attacks on his party workers” claimed lives of two activists and left another wounded.
“We strongly believe that there is a third element which is actively involved in an attempt to disrupt the sectarian harmony,” he said.
“We have even asked the ST leadership to look at the issue from this angle as well, but unfortunately there has been no serious effort by the police authorities, who prefer more to wait and see to control any kind of violence until it claims several innocent lives.”
The police authorities, on the other hand, claimed to have controlled the situation “to a large extent”. However, they admitted that there had been no arrests.
SP Malik Zafar Iqbal of New Karachi Town said Rangers personnel were assisting the police force in the affected areas.
“New check-posts have also been established in some pockets. Brining back the life to normal in Godhra is our priority. We have succeeded in it to a large extent,” he said.