RAWALPINDI: Gunmen riding motorcycles shot dead three persons, and injured three others, in two separate drive-by gun attacks in the city on Friday. The killers escaped in both cases.

Family feud was behind the first attack, which took place at dawn in the Race Course precinct. But police suspect sectarian enmity behind the second attack, which took place in the Purana Qila section of Raja Bazaar, just metres away from the ruins of Taleemul Quran madressah-mosque-market complex, after the Friday prayers.

“Apparently, it is sectarian violence. However, we are investigating the murder case from different angles,” SHO Nadeem Zafar of Banni police station told Dawn.

Two unidentified motorcyclists arrived at the Dubai Chadder shop in Purana Qila selling material used by the Shia community in its religious rituals and started firing, killing two men inside the shop and injuring three others, he said.

Their shooting killed Mohammad Faisal alias Sunny and Ramzan Qureshi and injured Haji Nasir, Umer and Fareed.

Ironically, the shopkeepers the gunmen killed belonged to the Sunni sect.

What looked paradoxical to the police, however, was that Dubai Chadder opened for business when it used to observe Friday as weekly holiday and when no Shia rituals, or gatherings, were scheduled for the day.

Whatever facts police investigations may upturn, the immediate impact of the targeted murders was that panic gripped the Raja Bazaar area. Big contingents of police were rushed there to control the situation as terrified shopkeepers started pulling down their shutters.

Many noted that the unfortunate gun attack took place on the eve of the ceremonial launch of the reconstruction of the Taleemul Quran seminary and the mosque and Madina Market attached to it, which were burnt down during sectarian violence in the old city last November.

Rawalpindi Traders Association President Sharjeel Mir condemned Friday’s shooting and asked the Punjab government, which is rebuilding the complex, to ensure protection of the traders in worsening law and order situation.

“We are still suffering the tragic consequences of the last sectarian outburst and this incident has added to the traders’ pain and concerns,” he said.

In the early morning incident, milk shop owner Manzoor Hussain was shot dead by two motorcycle riders.

His son, Matloob Hussain, filed a murder case with the Race Course police station, accusing Amin and Ahmed of the crime in a family feud and litigation.

Opinion

Editorial

IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...
Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...