KARACHI: A trader was shot dead while four others sustained bullet wounds when two shopkeepers’ groups fought with each other over what was described as a trivial issue of parking in New Sabzi Mandi on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.
The murder of the shopkeeper triggered a protest as traders allegedly backed by some political elements blocked the Superhighway resulting in a traffic jam that occurred on the main highway for a considerable time.
Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur told Dawn that a scuffle broke out among shopkeepers over parking of vehicles outside a shop in New Sabzi Mandi.
As the fighting escalated, someone telephoned their accomplices and armed men came who resorted to firing. As a result, five people sustained bullet wounds, who were taken to a nearby private hospital, where one of them was pronounced dead on arrival, said the police.
The victim was identified as Saif Rehman.
The senior officer said that the police arrested two suspects and seized weapons used in the crime. The police described them as the main suspects.
The murder triggered anger among traders of New Sabzi Mandi, who blocked the both tracks of the highway for around half an hour which resulted into a severe traffic jam.
Sources in New Sabzi Mandi told Dawn that the main suspect was a shopkeeper who originally hailed from Afghanistan.
He allegedly called his accomplices who came in a vehicle with arms and resorted to indiscriminate firing.
The sources said that the shopkeepers were angry that armed men came from outside of the market and the police were present there, but they did nothing to stop them.
After the clash and the protest, the SSP held talks with the protesters, who dispersed after getting assurances that all the suspects would be arrested.
The police sources said certain political elements wanted to provoke the protesters to create a law and order situation.
They said the police were planning a legal action against such elements.
The president of the Karachi vegetable traders’ welfare federation, Haji Azeem Khan, told Dawn that the deceased shopkeeper, Saif Rehman, hailed from Bajaur Agency.
He revealed that the other four wounded men were close relatives of the deceased. His funeral prayer was held here and later his coffin was taken for burial to Bajaur Agency.
Meanwhile, the SITE Superhighway Industrial Area police station SHO, Chaudhry Aslam, said that an FIR (340/2019) had been registered against two arrested suspects and others over the murder of the shopkeeper and injuries to four others on a complaint of Abdul Zahir.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019