Orangi tense amid firing, arson attack
KARACHI: Fear returned to parts of Orangi Town on Thursday when firing and an arson attack left a rickshaw driver dead and a private news channel vehicle completely destroyed and suspended daily life in the neighbourhoods, police said.
Most parts of the thickly-populated town stayed normal, but the areas around Metro Cinema, Aligarh Colony and Bukhari Colony remained tense amid random gunfire.
The police said that firing started in Sector 6–E. “The 26-year-old rickshaw driver, Arif Khan, was passing through the area when he came under fire,” said an official at the Orangi Town police station.
“He was a resident of Frontier Colony near Banaras and driving back home after dropping passengers. The body was later shifted to the Civil Hospital for medico-legal formalities.” Intense firing also forced traders to pull down shutters and transporters refused to ply vehicles in the areas.
While the police said they enhanced patrolling in the affected areas after the killing, gunmen emerged in the neighbouring locality and attacked a minibus. “The firing on the bus of route W-55 was reported near Metro Cinema,” said an official at the Pirabad police station.
“It left four people wounded, who were identified as Mustafa, Mohammad Nasar, Farhan and Qaiser.” The official said that they were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment. Near Kati Pahari, a hi-roof of Samaa TV was set on fire after its news coverage team was forced to get off.
Although the area police remained unaware of the exact incident, they said the vehicle came under attack near the Kati Pahari area by some ‘criminal elements’.
“The miscreants forced the TV staff to leave the vehicle and when the staff did so they set the vehicle on fire,” said an official. A Samaa TV official told Dawn that a news team was with the police covering a raid on a hideout of suspected criminals when it came under attack.
“When we reached near Kati Pahari, we along with the police party came under attack. Stones were being hurled at the moving vehicles amid heavy gunfire,” said Ghayasuddin, the Samaa TV reporter who was part of the news team.
“The police party disappeared immediately after firing and we were trapped in heavy firing. Finally we abandoned the vehicle and ran for safety.”
He said the news team, which also included the cameraman and the driver, took refuge in a house in the neighbourhood for almost two hours and in the meantime their vehicle was set on fire.
“We were rescued by the police after two hours but the fire completely damaged the vehicle,” added Ghayasuddin. In New Karachi, a ‘suspected criminal’ was gunned down allegedly by a friend after a brief argument, the area police said.
The officials added that 24-year-old Asad Bhagal was sitting with a ‘friend’ at a roadside tea restaurant in Shafiq Colony where he was shot dead.
Witnesses were quoted as saying that his friend pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot in Asad’s head before speeding away on his motorbike parked outside the restaurant.
“The victim was an area resident and wanted in an illegal arms case,” said Gabol Town SHO Inspector Shaoor Bangash.