KARACHI, Aug 24: More than half a dozen people, including a former union council nazim and senior activist of the Jamaat-i-Islami, were killed in the city on Saturday as a surge in violent incidents was witnessed, police said.
The officials did not express any particular reason for the escalating violence though the high-ups believed that the recent surge in the killings of political workers could be related to the by-polls earlier this week that brought the contesting parties at loggerheads.
In Liaquatabad, a 55-year-old trader was shot dead outside his shop in the first half of the day.
An official at the Super Marker police station said armed men riding a motorbike targeted Zafar Iqbal in the furniture market and sped away. He sustained three gunshot wounds and died on the spot, the official said.
The body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities, he added.
“The victim was a former union council Nazim of Liaquatabad Town,” the police official said. “He was an area resident and a well-known person in the market. He was politically and socially active.”
The fresh episode came as a grim reminder of the killing of Abid Ilyas, another JI activist and UC nazim of the same town, in May just eight months after the murder of Dr Pervez Mahmood, a former Liaquatabad Town nazim in September 2012.
Karachi JI chief Mohammad Hussain Mehnati condemned the killing and called it part of an organised campaign against his party workers who were vocal against ‘fake mandate’ and ‘the city’s hostage-like situation’.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Thebo said he was not sure about the possible motive for the JI worker’s killing. He said police investigators were examining the trend of targeted attacks and efforts were being made for the arrest of killers. He said attacks on political workers in recent days could be linked with the by-polls. “Pakistan Peoples Party workers were targeted in the Orangi Town constituency where the party had fielded a candidate for the by-polls,” he said.
“We see the same reason for the killings in other areas but I believe the situation has improved a lot as we have enhanced response time and following the concept of active policing. I feel confident that the recent breakdown will not last long,” he added.
Earlier in the small hours, the body of a man wrapped in the national flag was found in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, the area police said.
An official at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station said the body was spotted in a street in block 14 along the main road.
“The victim, in his mid 40s, was hit by a single bullet in the head,” he said.
“It was wrapped in the Pakistani flag and we don’t understand the reason behind this. The body was shifted to the Edhi morgue after medico-legal formalities at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for want of identification.”
In Machhar Colony, a young man’s killing allegedly by a criminal gang in Lyari sparked protests.
A large number of area people staged a demonstration outside the Docks police station.
The officials said the young man named Zain-ul-Abideen was found shot dead earlier in the morning in Machhar Colony.
“The victim was suspected of different criminal activities,” said an official at the Docks police station.
“He was a Bengali national and it seems that he was killed after being kidnapped by the members of a rival criminal group. The police managed to disperse the crowd after holding talks with their representatives.”
The body of another young man was found from the old city area, police said.
An official at the Napier police station said the victim was identified as 28-year-old Kamran Ghafoor. He said police investigators believed that a wave of clashes between criminal gangs claimed his life.
He said: “The police do not have any criminal record of the victim. But he was known for his connections with criminal elements. He was kidnapped and shot dead after being tortured. He was a Lyari resident and his killing could be part of rivalry between two gangs.”
In Baldia Town, a 40-year-old man was shot dead in the early hours of the day, police said.
They added that armed men fired shots at Rana Kausar in Sector 17-A. “He was attacked near the minibus terminal of route A-25 by armed motorcyclists,” said an official at the Saeedabad police station.
“The victim was a resident of the same area and not affiliated with any political or religious group. The killing seemed to be a result of some personal enmity.”
Meanwhile, two bullet-riddled bodies were found in different parts of the city.
Police said a body was found from Jauhar Square in the Sachal area while the other was spotted in an area close to Kati Pahari.