KARACHI: Four people, including an Imambargah trustee, were gunned down in suspected sectarian attacks in different parts of the city as targeted killings on sectarian grounds escalated on Monday.
Three of the victims were Shia and one was a member of the Ismaili community.
More than 350 people have been killed in Karachi in ‘sectarian attacks’ over the past five months, according to the Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) that announced a countrywide protest on May 26 against the ongoing targeted killing of Shia community members.
Police said Shaukaz Shirazi, 52, the trustee of an Imambargah in Kharadar, and his guest, Kaisar Ali, were gunned down at his office in Sarafa Bazaar.
“It was a targeted killing case,” believed City SSP Sheraz Nazeer. He said the Imambargah trustee was sitting at his office of ‘Muttahida Amn Mahaz’ (United Peace Front) when he was attacked.
“Shaukaz Shirazi was MWM’s political council member,” said the MWM spokesperson. Around an hour later, a shopkeeper was shot dead in a suspected sectarian attack in Liaquatabad, police said.
Agha Mohsin Ali, 45, was targeted outside his motorbikes’ service station in the Dak-khana area when four suspects riding two motorcycles sprayed him with bullets before fleeing, the officials said.
He sustained multiple bullet wounds and was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors declared him dead, the police said. While Liaquatabad SHO Shakeel Shervani said it was too early to call it a sectarian killing, the MWM spokesperson declared it an act of sectarian killing.
He added the victim left a widow and five children.
Shortly afterwards, another shopkeeper was gunned down in Block-7 of the Federal B. Area, police said.
Sajjad Hussain, 53, was targeted at his dry-cleaner’s shop near Ayesha Manzil, said an official at the Jauharabad police station.
The victim was taken to a private hospital on National Stadium Road where he died at around 3:50pm, the official said.
The victim belonged to the Ismaili community, the police said.
The MWM spokesperson said almost on a daily basis, one or two people were being targeted in Karachi on sectarian grounds.
Meanwhile, the funeral prayers for the trustee of the Imambargah were offered on M.A. Jinnah Road near the Numaish traffic intersection.
Following the funeral, MWM supporters, including women and children, staged a sit-in in protest against the killings.
The body of the Imambargah trustee was later taken to the Bagh-i-Murtaza graveyard for burial.
The spokesperson warned that the protest might continue for an indefinite period if the government failed to punish the militants of banned outfits. The funeral prayers for Agha Mohsin and Sajjad Hussain were offered at Imambargah Shah-i-Karbala and Mehfil-i-Murtaza, respectively.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2014