KARACHI: A doctor and nine other people, including political and religious activists, were gunned down on Monday in the fresh surge of violence, taking the three-day death toll to 41.
The police and Rangers claimed to have raided several hotspots and detained a number of suspects, including members of banned outfits, but the situation on the ground remained grim with little decline in violence and targeted attacks.
Fear returned to district central, where funeral prayers for Friday’s victims and protest against their killing turned violent and left three buses torched. The police said the incident was the result of ‘confusion’ between two groups that led to the firing and arson attacks.
“The funeral procession of a man and his two sons was moving on Shahrah-i-Pakistan towards the Wadi-i-Hussain graveyard on the Superhighway after funeral prayers near Incholi,” said SSP-Gulberg Amir Farooqi.
“Similarly, a number of supporters of the Jamaat Ahl-i-Sunnat emerged from Sohrab Goth while moving to M. A. Jinnah Road to attend a ‘Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah conference’. The two sides, I believe, got panicked and in the meantime someone fired a few shots into the air.”
The situation turned violent within a few seconds as people were seen scurrying for safety amid intense firing with no police and Rangers moving for their security.
Amid panic, with all businesses closed and traffic suspended, three buses were set on fire between the Water Pump traffic intersection and Yousuf Plaza on the main Shahrah-i-Pakistan.
“A man suffered a minor injury in his leg,” said SSP Farooqi. “The police controlled the situation. Both sides (participants in the funeral procession and rally) had been informed about each other’s scheduled programme, but miscreants exploited the situation.”
“A body was found in a locality called Shahbaz Nagar,” said Inspector Muhammad Sabir, the SHO of the Iqbal Market police station.
“The naked body bore severe torture marks. The victim was later identified as 29-year-old Gulzar Hussain, an embroider and resident of nearby Raees Amrohvi Colony.”
Within an hour, another man was found shot dead in Manghopir Colony. The area police said 55-year-old Batha Khan was killed when he was waiting along the road near his home for his family members coming from the airport after performing Haj.
“Witnesses said he was killed by criminals in the area, taking him for a law-enforcement agency man in plain clothes,” said an official at the Manghpoir police station. “He was waiting for his family members in the middle of the night that might have cast suspicions about his presence among criminals, who attacked him.”
In Lyari, two men stormed into a private clinic, shot the doctor dead and ran away. The police said they had found a few ‘traces’ that suggested personal issues behind the murder of Dr Nisar Sehto.
“Two men on a motorbike pulled up outside Dr Riaz Ali Shah Clinic situated on Sheedi Village Road in Lyari and entered the facility,” said an official at the Kalakot police station. “He was busy seeing patients, so they sat down on the benches outside. On their turn, they entered his room and ran away after firing multiple shots.”
The clinic staff, he said, rushed to the doctor’s room and found him lying in a pool of blood. The 45-year-old victim was also employed with the Sindh health department, posted at the Lyari General Hospital as its resident medical officer.
“Apparently, we have found no link that could establish any political, ethnic or sectarian motive behind the incident. So far it seems related to some personal reasons,” said SP Sarfaraz Nawaz of Lyari Town.
A 58-year-old man and his young son-in-law were killed in an armed attack in Malir that police described as a result of rivalry between two groups.
“Deen Muhammad Ghumani with his 28-year-old son-in-law Abdul Shakoor were at an auto-workshop in Memon Goth,” said the area’s deputy superintendent of police Fateh Sangri. “Ghumani was a rickshaw driver and had come with Abdul Shakoor for repairs of the tri-wheeler. All of a sudden, two men on a motorbike rode past firing at them. The firing killed both and left a seven-year-old passerby, Hanif, wounded.”
The dead, residents of Memon Goth, had been embroiled in a dispute with a criminal gang known as Bashira Group, he said. The group recently lost one of its key members in firing and it suspected that Ghumani and his family were involved in the killing, added DSP Sanghri.
In the evening, a political activist was shot dead in Orangi Town when he was having tea at a roadside shop with friends.
Police said 32-year-old Shamshad aka Bhoora was associated with Unit-121 of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s organisational structure.
“He was sitting at Sallu Hotel near Bangla Bazaar in Sector 14,” said an official at the Pakistan Bazaar police station. “Two men on a motorbike pulled up near him. First they fired multiple shots into the air apparently to scare the onlookers away and finally fired at Shamshad before disappearing from the scene.”
Hit by 12 bullets, he died on the spot, said the official, adding that his body was later moved to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities. The victim lived in the same area.
Gunmen struck in North Karachi, where they targeted 29-year-old Muhammad Irfan, associated with the Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat. They said the assailants gunned him down when he was returning after visiting a friend.
“He was targeted in Sector 5-B1 by armed men on a motorbike. Hit by three bullets, he died on the spot,” said an official at the Khwaja Ajmair Nagri police station.
A spokesman for the ASWJ said the victim was a worker of the party and claimed that he was targeted for his association with it.
A rickshaw driver was shot dead in Orangi Town while he was returning after dropping passengers. Police said gunmen fired at Muhammad Bashir when he was passing through Ghaziabad in Sector 11-1/2.
“He sustained two bullet wounds and died on the spot,” said an official at the Pakistan Bazaar police station. “The motive for the killing is not yet clear, but it was not a mugging attempt. The victim lived in Shah Faisal Colony.”
The police authorities did sound concerned about the situation, but showed little will to fight the menace.
“Sindh IG Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari has directed the police officials to ensure observing the standing operating procedure for the recovery of stolen and snatched vehicles and busting of gangs involved in these crimes and make it part of a Muharram contingency plan in view of the prevailing law and order situation as well as threat of terrorist activities,” said a central police office statement.“He further directed that all police stations immediately inform the control room about any case of theft or snatching of vehicle reported to them. This information should also be conveyed to all police stations of the interior of Sindh on wireless control for immediate mobilisation of police force.”