KARACHI, March 30: Two workers of the Awami National Party were shot dead and another one was wounded in different areas, triggering violence in the district west, where enraged people burnt at least two vehicles.
Police said the killings were not related to each other and described a clash and personal enmity as motives behind them, but the party disputed the police claims and insisted that the men were targeted for being associated with the ANP.
Hidayatullah Mehsud was shot dead in a barber’s shop, off Manghopir Road, said a duty officer at the Pirabad police station.
“It’s not an act of targeted killing, because Mr Mehsud had an altercation with a man in the barber’s shop over a petty issue shortly before the latter fired at him,” said DIG (west) Imran Yaqoob Minhas while speaking to Dawn.
He quoted the barber as saying that they fought over whose turn it was to have a haircut. After having an altercation, one of them left the shop and returned shortly afterwards with a gun in his hand. He fired at Mehsud and remarked “now you can have your hair cut”, according to the eyewitness account.
SSP-West Pir Fareed Jan Sarhandi had earlier told Dawn that the killer was also a Pakhtun. Police said they were not sure about the identity or whereabouts of the attacker.
The body was later shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi for medico-legal formalities.
As the news of the killing was aired by some TV channels, fear gripped parts of the district west followed by condemnation of the incident by the party and Federal Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who was in the city.
The slain Mehsud was member of the party’s Sindh council, said an ANP spokesman.
Sindh ANP Secretary-General Bashir Jan disputed the police version describing the incident as an act of targeted killing.
“Our party members have gone to the area where the shooting took place and after carrying out an inquiry they have told me that two to four suspects on a motorbike came to the shop and fired at him,” said Mr Jan.
Earlier during the day, he added, the vice president of an ANP ward within the remit of the Pirabad police station was targeted.
Ashiq Khan alias Afghani was wounded in firing near Qasba Mor, police said.
They added that the victim was rushed to a private hospital, where he was admitted for treatment.
Mr Jan expressed surprise that without verifying the news, some private channels had run tickers that Ashiq Khan had been killed.
Following the incident, the area reverberated with gunfire and two vehicles — a motorcycle and a car — were torched in arson attacks.
The violence compelled traders to pull down shutters.
Later, contingents of police, FC and Rangers moved into the Qasba Colony area. At least 15 young men were rounded up by the Rangers.
A number of women and children took to the streets in protest against the detention and raised slogans.
Yet another young man said to be activist of the ANP was shot dead in Bilal Colony within the remit of the Korangi Industrial Area police station.
The police described personal enmity as the motive behind the killing, but the party expressed doubt on the police claim.
Khanzada Khan was standing at an eatery in Bilal Colony, where two armed men riding a motorcycle pulled up and opened fire at him, police said.
The victim was rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A duty officer at the Korangi Industrial Area police station quoted the victim’s brother as saying that the killing was the result of a personal enmity.
However, the ANP spokesman said that Khanzada Gul was an active member of the party. He expressed doubt on the police version.