KARACHI, Aug 15: In a five-hour-long encounter inside Safari Park on Thursday morning, two police officers and three suspects were killed while five policemen, including two station house officers, sustained gunshot wounds, police said.

The officials added that violent clashes between two groups over a piece of land in Madho Goth inside Safari Park prompted police to take action against them that led to the shoot-out.

However, two nationalist groups claimed that the three deceased were their local leaders and alleged that the killing was an extra-judicial execution carried out by the law-enforcement agencies.

The two parties gave a strike call on Friday (today) to protest the killings across the province.

“A violent clash, which also resulted in casualties in the past, between two groups over the plot had been going on for quite some time in Madho Goth,” said Additional Inspector-General of Police, Karachi, Ghulam Qadir Thebo.

As a result of the clash, the city police chief said, one of the groups had left the area but returned only recently. “The two groups fought with each other again late Wednesday night,” he added.

Early Thursday morning when a police party led by Assistant Sub-Inspector Asif reached there to control the situation, the suspects opened fire on them, leaving the officer wounded, the city police chief said. When another police party led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Gulshan) Qasim Ghauri reached there, ASI Asif had died, he added. In an ensuing encounter, the DSP was also killed, the police chief said.

He said: “Contingents of police and the Rangers rushed to the spot and as they moved in to retrieve the bodies of the police officers, the armed suspects also attacked them, resulting in injuries to two SHOs, two ASIs and a policeman.” The wounded were Gulistan-i-Jauhar SHO Malik Saleem, Bahadurabad SHO Haider Zaidi, ASI Aslam, ASI Amanullah and police constable Azhar.

As fire was returned, three suspects including the one who could be seen in the footage firing on the police were gunned down, said the city police chief.

He added that a 12-bore gun, a revolver and a submachine gun were recovered from their possession.

“It is a known fact that the suspects had a dispute over the plot. We have also got their fingerprints to see if they were involved in other criminal activities also,” said the additional IG.

He said that a few suspects had been taken into custody following the encounter.

At around 11am, SSP (East) Imran Shaukat told the media on the spot that the police had surrounded the suspects at 6am and reinforcements were called when they attacked the police.

The SSP said the suspects had been involved in robberies in Karachi and other parts of Sindh. They belonged to the Mohammed Pariyal Shah group, he added.

The bodies of three suspects were brought to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, said Dr Seemin Jamali, senior official of the hospital, while speaking to Dawn.

One of them was identified as Zamin Ali Shah said to be a younger brother of Pariyal Shah, police said.

“Zamin Shah was a member of the central committee of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM),” said JSMM spokesperson Zulfiqar Jamali. He alleged that he had been detained by the law-enforcement agencies on Wednesday night as part of a province-wide crackdown against JSMM workers who had observed a strike on Independence Day.

He said the JSMM would observe three-day mourning and gave a call for protest on Friday (today).

The other two suspects were identified as Yamin Chachar and Umaid Ali Sunbal, the police said.

“Both the deceased were workers of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST),” claimed JST head Dr Safdar Sarki.

He said Yamin was Madho Goth JST president while Umaid was ‘a poet and Ghotki JST leader’ who had reached there to meet his friends.

Dr Sarki urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the ‘killing of political workers’ who he said had no previous criminal record.

He also called for a probe into the incident.

He claimed that around 20 persons, including Pariyal Shah, some of them in wounded condition, had been taken away by the law-enforcement agencies and their whereabouts were not known.

The JST leader also gave a strike call for Friday (today) against the killings.

Meanwhile, some residents of Madho Goth told the media that the two groups led by Pariyal Shah and Arshad Shah, both said to be supporters of the same political party, were fighting with each other over the plot inside Safari Park.

Area residents said that Arshad allegedly with the help of certain elements in police had expelled Pariyal Shah from the plot around a month ago.

They also told the media that there was a motorcycle-rickshaw stand in Madho Goth and Pariyal allegedly used to collect extortion money from the owners of motorcycle-rickshaws.

They said the police had dismantled the rickshaw stand three days ago. It was apparently in a reaction to the move that one person said to be a ‘police informer’ was shot at and wounded allegedly by the Pariyal-led group on Wednesday night, the residents said.

They added that both the groups also resorted to firing into the air in Madho Goth at around 12:30am and the police arrived there in the morning to tackle the situation.

According to police record, DSP Qasim Ghori had joined the force in Hyderabad where he was appointed assistant sub-inspector in 1981. He was promoted to the ranks of sub-inspector and inspector before being transferred to Karachi in the mid-1990s. He served as a station house officer at a number of police stations. For over a decade, he served as deputy superintendent police in Korangi, Ferozeabad, Jamshed Quarters. A couple of months ago, he was transferred from Jamshed Quarters to Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

Compensation

Expressing his deep grief over the death of Gulshan-i-Iqbal DSP Qasim Ghauri and ASI Mohammad Asif in the shoot-out, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah announced that Rs2 million would be given to the families of the martyred police officials in compensation besides a government job would be offered to one of their children, adds APP.

The chief minister praised the bravery of the martyred police officials and said that police were in high spirits and playing an effective role in curbing crime.

The CM directed the authorities to provide best medical treatment to the police officials who were wounded during the shoot-out.