Karachi: 11 shot dead in fresh wave of violence
KARACHI: As many as 11 persons were killed, mostly on sectarian grounds, in a renewed wave of violence in the city as deadly armed attacks that began late on Friday night continued into the first half of Saturday, sparking fears among Karachiites preparing for Eid celebrations. Two persons were killed in Federal B Area’s block 17 in an attack by gunmen riding motorbikes. Police said four men on two motorbikes spotted two men – Maulana Shakirullah and Qari Muhammad Asif – sitting at a charity collection camp outside Jamia Masjid Taqwa and Madressah Taqwiat–ul–Iman. “The riders fired multiple shots at the victims and rode away,” said a police official. “Both men died on the spot and their bodies were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) for medico-legal formalities. Tension gripped the locality after the incident and charged youths took to the main Shahra-i-Pakistan to block the main road though the situation was controlled in less than an hour.”
Within an hour of the dual killings, gunmen on two motorbikes intercepted a car carrying three friends in Sector 5C-4 of North Karachi, opened fire on it and sped away. Three young men were fatally wounded in the shooting and they died during treatment at ASH, where they were identified as Muhammad Yahya, Mujeeb Siddiqui and Hasan Farooqi.
“We have reason to believe that the victims were targeted on sectarian grounds,” said an official at the Khwaja Ajmer Nagri police station.
A spokesman for the Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat claimed two of the three killed youngsters were associated with the ASWJ.
Within half-an-hour gunmen targeted more than half a dozen men having tea at a roadside hotel in Sector 10 of the same North Karachi area.
“Three motorbikes carrying some seven or eight armed men stopped in front of the restaurant near Masjid-i-Quba near Disco Mor, which has sitting arrangements along the road,” said an official at the Sir Syed police station. “Some four men holding pistols got off the motorbikes and fired indiscriminately, injuring six persons.”
They sped away and the injured were shifted to ASH, where Sharjeel, Naveed, Zahoor, Shaukat and Atif died. One of the injured, Hasan-ul-Zama, was said to be out of danger, said the official.
Senior law–enforcement officials, including additional inspector–general Iqbal Mahmood and the director-general of Sindh Rangers, visited the site. The killings sparked fear mainly in district central, where traders pulled down shutters and markets, which remained open till late in the night for Eid shopping, became deserted.
“More force has been called in for better security arrangements on Eid,” said additional IG Iqbal Mahmood. “The killings appeared to be part of the recent sectarian wave and we are coordinating with ulema of all schools of thought for sectarian harmony. We need to move forward with coordinated efforts.”
Tension gripped the locality during the funeral prayers of the Disco Mor victims on Shahra-i-Pakistan on Saturday afternoon. The protesters chanted slogans against the security administration for its failure to halt killings and also demanded the removal of senior police officials.
Traffic remained suspended on key roads, where hundreds of vehicles were forced to use alternative routes.
However the new measures failed to stop the killing spree as in the second half of the day in Federal B Area’s Block 19 armed men targeted the muazzin of a block 14 mosque.
An official at the Samanabad police station said armed riders targeted Qari Muhammad Ahsan when he was returning home after teaching the Quran to children in one of the block’s homes.
“He was also the muazzin at Masjid-i-Rizwan in Block 14 and lived here in an apartment in block 20,” he said, adding that the victim originally hailed from Dera Ismail Khan Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain expressed his grief over the killing of Syed Farhan Ahmed Gilani, a worker of Unit 120 of MQM Orangi Town Sector.
A party statement issued on Saturday said the party chief also expressed grief over the killing of Mashhood Ahmed aka Danish after being kidnapped by ‘armed terrorists of criminal gangs’. It also clarified that worker Gilani was shot dead while resisting an armed robbery.