KHAIRPUR: Piryaloi town shut down immediately after a Shia activist was shot dead by assailants outside his house on Saturday afternoon. The town is the commercial and trade hub of Khairpur district.

The killing drew a spontaneous reaction from the Shia community as groups of enraged activists took to the streets of the town and marched up to the Babarloi bypass, where a demonstration was held for the arrest of the killers.

Leading the protest, local Shia Ulema Council (SUC) leaders said that the victim, Abbas Hyder Zaidi, 45, was targeted on sectarian grounds as he was a very active member of the council. They said the assailants waylaid him as soon as he arrived home and shot him before he could get in. He died on the spot, they added.

Soon after the incident, traders and shopkeepers pulled down the shutters and within a few hours the entire town came to a close on an appeal made by the local SUC leadership.

The demonstration was continuing when last reports came in late in the evening. The SUC leaders were insisting that they would not take away the body for burial until the arrest of the culprits.

Vehicular traffic on both sides of the bypass remained suspended for many hours and the local administration and police were trying to persuade the protesters to clear the intercity route.

Published in Dawn December 21th , 2014