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KARACHI: Police on Wednesday said that the firing on a Gulistan-i-Jauhar restaurant that caused death of two people on Tuesday was carried out by local criminals over non-payment of Rs3 million extortion.

Aziz Wahab, 40, and Nazak Mohammed, 22, were shot dead while Barkat Ali, 45, was injured when armed pillion riders opened indiscriminate fire on the restaurant in Pehalwan Goth.

“The incident appeared to be the outcome of non-payment of bhatta (extortion),” said DIG-East Amir Farooqi.

He said that the assailants had been identified, but he would keep their identity secret for a while because of ongoing investigations. “They are members of a local criminal gang who were arrested in the recent past but have become active again after being released from prison.”

The investigation officer at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station, Farooq Sanjrani, said that the “real target” of the assailants was the son of the restaurant’s owner, who saved himself by lying low when the firing started.

Quoting owner Nazaruddin, the officer said he got phone calls in which the caller demanded Rs3m as “protection money”.

He said that investigators were obtaining the call data records.

The police have registered a terrorism case on charges of premeditated murder on the complaint of the owner’s son.

The officer said that the condition of injured Barkat was out of danger.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019