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KARACHI, June 28: Three persons including a woman were shot dead while eight others received bullet wounds when over a dozen suspected gangsters riding motorcycles resorted to indiscriminate firing in Kharadar on Friday, according to police and hospital officials.

Besides in two separate incidents, three persons were shot dead in what police believed ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks between gangsters while one suspected gangster was shot dead in an encounter with the Rangers and police.

The police attributed these incidents as the outcome of a ‘turf war’ between two rival groups in the old city areas.

“Armed men riding 14 motorcycles carried out indiscriminate firing in Machhi Miani market, wounding over one dozen people,” said SSP City Tariq Razzaq Dharejo.

The wounded were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi.

“We received three bodies including that of a woman and eight wounded men,” said medico-legal official of the Civil Hospital Karachi Dr Karrar Abbasi. He said the dead had received multiple bullet wounds.The deceased, all in their 40s, were identified as Fatima Javed, Faisal Memon and Fazal-i-Moula.

The Kharadar police said that Fatima and Faisal Memon had come to the market to buy meat while Fazal-i-Moula was a Mashki (drinking water seller).

Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Mohammad Hussain Mahenti said that the deceased Faisal Lat was a ‘senior and active party man’ and demanded early arrest of the culprits involved into the crime.

“I was standing at my pushcart when around 30-35 men riding 15 to 16 motorcycles resorted to heavy firing on the people standing and passing through the market,” said the wounded Sajid Sadiq while speaking to Dawn at the emergency ward of the CHK. “I feel extreme pain in my both legs as I sustained two bullets,” added the meat vendor. He was referred to Surgical Ward-5 after being provided first aid.

A witness, Kashif, told Dawn that he was passing through the area on his motorcycle when the motorcyclists resorted to firing. “I abandoned my bike and ran for safety like every other person in a shop,” he said. “I saw several wounded persons, two them lying on the road, one was Mashki,” said the witness.

The bullets also ruptured his ‘Mashk’, he added.The brazen attack on the innocent persons in the busy bazaar prompted the authorities to launch a joint targeted operation led by police and the Rangers in Lyari, in which one suspected gangster, Saqib Boxer, was killed in Nayabad, said DIG South Dr Ameer Sheikh.

“Boxer along with other suspected gangsters was nominated in the Kharadar incident,” he said.

The DIG said other suspects nominated in the triple murder included Wasiullah Lakho, Ayaz Zehri, Sunny, Sheraz Comrade, Umer Kutchhi and Sarwar Baloch.

“These criminals riding 12 to 15 motorcycles came from Kikri Ground and attacked the people in Kharadar,” the senior police officer believed.

“Basically, the incident was the result of a turf war between the two rival groups to gain control over the locality to extort money from the people,” Dr Sheikh said.

“With Ramazan drawing near, the turf war has intensified and spread from Lyari to Kharadar as many well-to-do people live in the latter,” he added.

The victims who sustained gunshot wounds were identified as Sajid Sadiq, Ahmed Abdullah, Saleem Ghani, Imran Sharif, Tariq Mehmood, Faisal Razzaq, Ali Mewa Shah and Syed Faridullah.

Area people later protested the killings of the three persons and blocked traffic on the main artery at Tower.

Following the incident and the police action against the criminals, gunfire was heard in several localities.

Rescue workers said that three persons were shot at and wounded in Bihar Colony, Mauripur Road, Khada Market and other areas. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital Karachi.

Tit-for-tat killings

Two men were shot dead in Machhar Colony allegedly by Lyari gangsters in a reaction to the murder of their gang member, according to the Docks police.

A member of the banned Peoples Amn Committee, Nazeer Jhatial, who had been kidnapped from Machhar Colony allegedly by a rival group on Thursday night, was found shot dead in Agra Taj Colony on Friday, said Docks SHO Asif Jakhrani.

He believed that Saleem and Adlu, both belonging to the Kutchhi community, were shot dead near Marri Chowk in Machhar Colony in reaction to the murder of the Peoples Amn Committee member.