KARACHI, Nov 29: Three office-bearers of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), including its vice chairman, along with a taxi driver were killed in a gun attack on the taxi in Landhi on Thursday, police said.
The shooting came as a grim reminder of the last year gun attack on a car in the Bahadurabad area that left the then MQM-H vice chairman, Akhtar Hussain, two party workers and a passer-by dead.
This time, three armed men riding two motorbikes intercepted the taxi (JL-2085) in Mansehra Colony, Landhi, within the remit of the Sharafi Goth police station, officials said. The attackers opened fire on the taxi and sped away, the police added.
While 35-year-old taxi driver Niaz Mohammad died on the spot, the three MQM-H men succumbed to their wounds while being shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, officials said.
The MQM-H leaders were identified as Zafar Qaimkhani, 48, the party vice chairman, Aleem Khan, 53, central committee member, and Abdul Qadir Gilani, 50, central executive committee member.
A spokesman for the MQM-H, Khalid Hameedi, said that the three leaders had left Sherpao Colony to attend a meeting but their car broke down on their way and they took a cab to reach Mansehra Colony where they were targeted.
Quoting eyewitnesses, Mr Hameedi said: “One of the suspects was wearing police uniform.”
The spokesman said that Zafar Qaimkhani, father of four, was made the MQM-H vice chairman following the killing of Akhtar Hussain.
Aleem Khan, a senior central committee member, was released from jail in 2010 after he had served out 17 years in prison, the spokesman said. He was father of two and was associated with the party’s Pak Colony sector though these days he was not very active in politics and was living in Sherpao Colony, he added.
The spokesman said Abdul Qadir Gilani was father of seven and a resident of Lines Area. He was a former employee of town municipal administration and was presently serving the party as a member of its central committee, Mr Hameedi added.
Quoting eyewitness accounts, Quaidabad DSP Kamal Mangan said that among the three attackers, one was wearing khaki trousers with a blue shirt and a police cap.
The officer said that the armed men behind the taxi fired multiple shots.
“Eleven spent bullet casings of 9mm pistol were collected from the crime-scene,” he added.
The DSP said that the taxi was moving slow on a rundown portion of the road when it came under attack.
Following the killings, MQM-H chairman Afaq Ahmed rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where the bodies were brought.
Speaking to the media, he condemned the killings and said that culprits would not be spared no matter what the consequences.
“Coalition partners of the government are bent upon ruining the city and the government by ignoring the targeted killings are backing the killers,” he said.
He said that if the government and agencies failed to bring the culprits to book, the MQM-H would be justified in announcing its future line of action following which the government would be responsible for its consequences.
He appealed to party workers and supporters to exercise restraint and wait for directives from the central leadership.
In the evening, Mr Ahmed attended the funeral of the slain MQM-H leaders in Sherpao Colony.
They were later buried in the Rehri Goth graveyard.
Earlier in 2010, MQM-H leaders Mohammad Sabir and Mohammad Shafiq along with Advocate Sohail Anjum were gunned down on Shaheed-i-Millat Road when they were returning from the central prison after meeting Mr Ahmed, then incarcerated.