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Two men were killed and one injured after an incident of firing New Karachi area on Friday afternoon, police and hospital officials said.

New Karachi Station House Officer Majid Korai said three people were riding a motorbike when armed pillion riders attacked them near UP Mor and fled.

They sustained critical bullet wounds and were transported to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced Saleem, 32, as dead on arrival, said Dr. Saleem Shaikh, additional police surgeon of the hospital.

Another injured person, Arshad, 35, succumbed to his wounds during treatment, added Dr. Shaikh.

The third person, Azam, 30, was admitted for treatment. His condition is said to be serious.

A religious party official claimed that the victims were their workers and it was an incident of target killing. However, a senior police official said they did not belong to any party and it appeared to be a robbery-related incident.

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Spokesperson Umar Muawiyah told Dawn that the victims were ASWJ workers. While condemning the murders, the ASWJ official claimed that the incident was a target killing. The three men were on their way home in Khwaja Ajmer Nagri after offering Friday prayers at a mosque in the area when they were shot.

However, Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Central Irfan Baloch claimed that the initial probe revealed that the incident occurred over resistance of robbery.

SSP Baloch said that the deceased and injured originally belonged to Ahmed Pur Sharqia, Bahawalpur, and were presently residing in North Karachi.

"They did not belong to any religious or political group," said the SSP said, quoting their families.

The area SHO said that the statement of the injured would be crucial to the case. He added that the wounded was not in a position to give a statement at this time.

Rising street crime in Karachi

The latest incident of gun violence comes amid reports that street crime remains rampant in Karachi. Terming the menace a big challenge for the police force, Karachi's new police chief, Dr Amir Shaikh, launched a campaign against it, asking citizens to send their complaints on a WhatsApp number (0343-5142770) for prompt action.

According to Shaikh, police stations receive complaints from 40-50 victims daily.

In 2017, 16,232 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint as compared to 16,069 in 2016, an increase of 1.01 per cent, according to the CPLC data.

This year, in February 2018, 1,103 mobile phones were snatched while 1,479 mobile thefts were reported, as per CPLC data.

April 2018 numbers showed 1,110 snatchings while 1,466 mobile thefts were reported. The number has since gone up to 1,363 mobile snatching and 1,844 thefts, as seen in the July report of the committee.

The actual numbers could be far higher since many people avoid registering a formal complaint.

Interestingly, the crime statistics data shared on Sindh police’s website does not mention mobile snatchings and only focuses on heinous crimes including murder, robberies and suicide blasts.