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KARACHI, June 5: The city braces for a shutdown on Thursday on a ‘day of mourning’ call given by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over the killing of what the party claimed as its three sympathisers in Malir on Wednesday.

Police said three young factory workers were kidnapped and shot dead while another man was critically wounded in Khokhrapar.

While the Sindh government constituted a team of senior police officers led by the DIG east to probe the killing of the three factory workers, MQM activists and leaders carrying coffins staged a sit-in outside the Chief Minister House and demanded action against the banned Peoples Amn Committee.

The police said the four factory workers as a matter of routine were on their way in a bus (T-0361) to a textile mill in Korangi from their residences in Khokhrapar when several gunmen intercepted the vehicle near Malok Hotel and took away the four workers at gunpoint on Wednesday morning.

One Javed informed Madadgar-15 of the police that four persons had been kidnapped from the bus. The police said that the incident occurred near Malir City police station.

Around two hours later, the Khokhrapar police received information about the presence of ‘four bodies’ in bushes near Sukhia Jalbani Goth.

“Two persons were already dead when the police party reached there while two others were in critical condition,” said Khokhrapar SHO Nawaz Ali Shah.

He said the deceased and the wounded victims were rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where doctors pronounced three of them dead.

The deceased were identified as Irfan, 28, son of Faizan, Mehtab, 25, s/o Waheed, and Tauseef, 32, s/o Farooq. The wounded victim was Farhan, 32, son of Idris, according to the police.

The police said the relatives took away the bodies from the hospital without allowing doctors to conduct a post-mortem examination. The bodies bore multiple bullet wounds, the SHO said.

The police investigators suspected that the killings might be the result of a brawl among the factory workers a few days ago. However, the MQM alleged that the Amn Committee was involved in murder of their supporters.

The police said they had found a significant clue to the killers and their motive.

“Three days ago, some factory workers had quarrelled with each other over some issue,” said SP Korangi Division Irfan Mukhtar.

However, he added, the police had ‘doubts’ that the murders could be outcome of that infighting.

The police authorities formed an investigation team led by SP, DSP and SHO concerned and the police party conducted a raid to arrest the culprits involved in the triple murder.

The Sindh government, meanwhile, formed a team comprising the SSP Malir, SSP East, SSP AVCC and SSP SIU to probe the killing of MQM workers in Malir.

Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon added that the team would be led by the DIG east.

The minister claimed that the police had already conducted raids and detained six persons for interrogation.

“We strongly condemned the killing of the MQM workers,” said the PPP leader.

The police said they heard that one of the deceased was ‘a nephew of one of the sectors in charge of the MQM’.

While a protest sit-in staged by family members and relatives of the three victims was still going on in front of the Chief Minister’s House, the MQM appealed to the people to observe a ‘peaceful day of mourning’ across the province against targeted killings and extortion. It appealed to traders to shut their business and asked transporters not to bring their vehicles on roads.

The traders, transporters and fuel stations associations unanimously announced that they would stay away from their businesses on the MQM’s day of mourning for both support and ‘security’ reasons.

The Karachi Transport Ittehad announced that all public transport in Karachi would remain off the road on Thursday.

Schools closure

While no government announcement was made about the closure of schools and colleges in the city, representative associations of private schools announced that their institution would remain shut on Thursday.

However, the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi, has postponed its English (normal) Paper-I and English (advance) Paper-I that were to be held on Thursday. These papers will now be held on Friday (June 7). The timings and examination centres will remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi told a press conference on Wednesday that ‘terrorists of banned People’s Amn Committee’ were responsible for the killings and that ‘they are being used for ethnic cleansing of Mohajirs’.

Accompanied by MQM leader Wasay Jalil and others, Mr Rizvi said on the one hand ‘terrorists of the Amn Committee’ had been given a free hand to extort money, kidnap people for ransom, kill MQM workers, and on the other hand ‘innocent MQM workers’ were being illegally detained and no institution was willing to tell who was responsible for their disappearance.

He urged newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take notice of the killing of the MQM workers and supporters and provide protection to the people of Karachi from gangsters.