KARACHI, Nov 29: A young couple, employees of a hospital, were gunned down in a sectarian attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Thursday, police said.

They added that the incident took place near Teachers Society within the remit of the Sachal police station, where assailants opened fire on a car (G-3325) and escaped.

The wounded couple were rushed to a nearby private hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival.

They were later identified as Iqbal Hussain, 33, and his wife Dilshad Fatima, 27.

Both were employees of the Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (KIRAN) hospital, opposite New Rizvia Society.

Iqbal was an administration assistant and Dilshad a laboratory technician at the hospital.

The couple had left their apartment in Relax Apartments near Teachers Society in Gulshan-i-Iqbal for work in their car when they were targeted.

They had recently shifted to the apartment. They have left a son.

“Initial circumstantial evidence suggests that the killing was carried out on sectarian grounds as the couple belonged to the Shia school of thought,” DSP Qamar Ahmed told Dawn.

“We don’t yet have an eyewitness account. So we are not sure if the suspects were on a motorcycle or were on foot,” the DSP said. However, it was presumed that suspects could have used a motorbike to carry out the killing, the officer said.

Police have collected seven spent bullet casings of 9mm pistol from the car.

Following the killings, tension gripped the Abbas Town and Incholi areas, where shops and markets were closed.

The city has recently witnessed killings of family members together, including four brothers and a man with his two sons, in separate incidents.

A trustee of an Imambargah was gunned down in Nazimabad on Wednesday.

“Probably it’s the first such act of sectarianism-driven targeted attacks in which a woman has been killed with her husband,” a senior police officer of the area said.

Secretary general of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen Allama Raja Nasir Abbas condemned the killing of the couple, deploring that it was the fourth consecutive sectarian attack after Ashura.

He demanded that the army be deployed in the city to halt the ongoing killings.

The funeral prayers for the couple will be held at the Incholi Imambargah after Friday prayers.

Office-bearers of the Pakistan Medical Association (both the central and Karachi chapters), including Dr Tipu Sultan, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Dr Idris Adhi and Dr Qazi Wasiq, said the Sindh government should resign if it was unable to curb criminal activities.

“We strongly condemn the brutal murder of two paramedics (husband and wife) and demand that the government take serious notice of the incident and ensure security to doctors and paramedical staffers and punishment for the criminals,” added a PMA statement on Thursday.

Condemning the incident, a leader of the PMA, Sindh,

Dr Samrina Hashmi, said it had become difficult for the doctors and other allied staff to work in such a situation. The government should provide security to all its citizens, she said.

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