KARACHI, Aug 12: At least two people were killed and four others were wounded in firing incidents in the old city areas where violence erupted on Monday, officials said.
As investigation was under way, police said they were collecting facts to ascertain if the killings were the result of infighting in the banned People’s Amn Committee (PAC) or a clash between some elements in the Kutchhi and Baloch communities.
Lyari SP Javed Iqbal Bhatti said two ‘rival groups’ fought with each other, leaving one person dead and four others wounded in Lyari areas.
DIG South Dr Ameer Sheikh explaining the two versions of the incidents said there were reports that activists of the banned PAC fought with each other in a clash that left ‘two to three persons’ wounded. The other version, the DIG said, was that elements among the Baloch and Kutchhi communities fought with each other.
He said the wounded included Zahid Ladla, a brother of Noor Mohammad alias Baba Ladla, a known character of Lyari elements who had recently organized a football tournament that was recently hit by a bomb blast.
Dr Sheikh said that Zahid Ladla was reportedly wounded in the Phool Pati area within the jurisdiction of the Baghdadi police station. Acting on some information when police carried out a raid on the Lyari General Hospital to arrest the wounded Ladla, as he was wanted in criminal activities, they could not find him there.
While there were reports of exchange of fire that left a few people wounded, no one was killed in Lyari on Monday, the DIG claimed. He added that contingents of police and Rangers ‘immediately controlled the situation’.
Rescue sources identified the wounded persons as Akhtar Hussain, 35, Shoaib, 30, and Shamshir. They said that an unidentified man was killed in the fighting.
Another man was shot dead in the Kharadar area after being kidnapped, police said.
Kharadar SHO Azam Khan said the young man was brought to the Abal Chowk in Kaghzi Bazaar by some motorcyclists who later shot him dead and fled.
The body was shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi where he was identified as Amjad Ali, son of sub-inspector Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Kharadar police quarters.
The SHO said that the victim had been called by someone on his cellphone. “The cellphone is in the custody of his father who is not cooperating with the police in the investigation of the case,” he said.
Meanwhile, relatives of the victim staged a protest demonstration outside the Kharadar police station over the killing.
Later on Monday night some armed men fired into the air causing immediate closure of shops and other commercial outlets in several parts of Lyari. Besides, some people torched tyres on roads to disrupt vehicular traffic.
The Lyari SP told Dawn that when Rangers entered in ‘Afshani Gali’ area certain people resorted to a violent protest so that the paramilitary force could not carry out a targeted action against the criminals.
Call for action to restore peace
Representatives of the Kutchhi and Baloch communities on Monday demanded that stern action be taken against the culprits who were involved in a breakdown of law and order in Lyari.
Attending a meeting, which was chaired by Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui, the community representatives demanded that those involved in firing incidents be identified and action be also taken against the elements not respecting the peace talks between the representatives of both communities.
They highlighted the need for restoring peace to Lyari and said they would support all steps that the authorities would take in this regard.
The Kutchhi community representatives in the meeting offered condolences for those killed in the recent Lyari blast and demanded arrest of the culprits.
Commissioner Siddiqui said the situation in Lyari had improved since this peace committee had been set up. He expressed the hope that further interaction would bring the two communities closer and help them remove any misgivings between them.
He also directed the officials concerned that priorities of residents be kept in mind while planning and carrying out work under the Lyari development package.
M.B. Kamran, Habib Hassan and Mohammad Afzal from the Baloch community while Yunus Soomro and Mahboob Sarwar representing the Kutchhi community attended the meeting. Officials Aslam Khoso, Fayaz Solangi, Mohammad Khan Rind, Javed Iqbal, Abdul Ghaffar, Shakoor Pathan and others also attended the meeting.