KARACHI, Nov 3: A worker of the Pakistan Peoples Party was killed in an alleged police encounter in Shah Latif Town on Sunday, police said.

The killing of Amir Bux Lashari sparked a protest as family members and party workers took to the street and blocked the main National Highway for four hours alleging that he was killed in a staged encounter following his arrest from his ‘Autaq’.Mystery shrouded the alleged encounter as no police officer was willing to share its details. However, late in the evening, DIG-East Munir Shaikh told Dawn that the Shah Latif SHO Farooq Satti was suspended and an inquiry to ascertain the authenticity of the police encounter had been ordered.

DSP-Malir Rao Muhammad Iqbal also gave no detail about the suspected encounter and said that a man wanted in a murder case was killed in an encounter in Shah Latif Town’s Sector 20-A.

However, the relatives and party leaders claimed that Mr Lashari was innocent and he was picked up by policemen in two mobile vans at his ‘Autaq’ in Ali Mohammed Lashari Goth, Bin Qasim at around 1.30pm.

They said that one and a half hours later, the family was informed that he was killed in an encounter near Pir Sarhandi Goth.

When the news of his killing spread in the area, relatives, villagers and PPP activists staged a protest sit-in, blocked the National Highway, demanding an impartial inquiry into the incident.

Heavy contingent of police reached the scene. However, they did not take any action against the protesters, including women and children, who remained there for four hours and lit bonfires.

The suspension of vehicular traffic on the highway caused hardship to a large number of motorists and commuters. Both tracks of the highway were blocked and the traffic was diverted from Bin Qasim and Cattle Colony.

Senior police officers held negotiations with the protesting PPP leaders, including area MPA Sajid Jokhio of the ruling party, to end the road blockade. They finally succeeded in opening the highway for traffic in the evening.

MPA Jokhio told Dawn that Malir SP Dr Muhammad Najeeb promised the protesters that the SHO of the Shah Latif Town would be suspended and an action against policemen involved in the alleged encounter would be taken.

He said that the SP also assured that a proper inquiry into the incident would be conducted.

The PPP lawmaker said there were several eyewitnesses to the arrest of Mr Lashari. He said the victim was a PPP worker in the area.

Another PPP leader in Malir, Mir Abbasi, said that the police claimed that the victim was wanted in 12 cases, including the murder of a policeman in 1992.

He said that the victim was engaged with the reti-bajri business in his village and he had nothing to do with any criminal activities.

He said it was their demand that an inquiry be conducted by an honest police officer, preferably by DIG A.D.Khowaja.

Shop gutted in Gulshan

Two firemen suffered burn wounds while trying to put out a fire that broke out in a carpet shop near Hasan Saquare in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Sunday.

They said that they were identified as Ismail Hussain and Kamran Babar. They were discharged after first aid.

Around 11 fire tenders took part in the firefighting operation.

A Fire Brigade official said that the shop was completely destroyed.

However, he said the exact cause of the fire could not be known immediately.

Aziz Bhatti SHO Ghulam Hussain claimed that a short circuit caused the fire.

He said the shop owner had received an ‘extortion chit’ around one year ago, but the fire had nothing to do with it.