KARACHI: A senior doctor was gunned down in what investigators suspected to be an incident of targeted killing on sectarian grounds in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Friday.

Gulshan SP Shahnawaz Chachar said that Dr Haider Askari, 58, was driving home after performing his duties at a government hospital in Korangi when two armed motorcyclists intercepted his car near KDA Market in Block 3 at around 12.30pm.

The assailants fired at him and rode away. The wounded doctor, who sustained a single bullet wound in the left shoulder, was taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital, where he died during treatment.

Later, the body was moved to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for a post-mortem examination.

Sectarian killing or street crime?

The SP said that the investigators were probing the matter along two angles — sectarian and killing upon resisting a robbery bid.

He said that the victim was Shia and the investigators could not rule out sectarianism as a possible motive for the killing due to approaching Muharram.

Dr Askari’s killing is second such incident in recent days

Besides, he said, it was also possible that the killing was an outcome of an attempted robbery.

He said witnesses told the police that armed pillion riders tried to stop Dr Askari’s car, but when he tried to speed away they fired at him.

The investigators collected one spent bullet casing fired from a .30-bore pistol from the crime scene.

MWM demands govt action

The Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen said that Dr Askari, a cardiac specialist, was killed on sectarian grounds.

“The killing of a Shia community member in Karachi prior to Muharram is regrettable,” Allama Baqar Zaidi of the MWM said, urging the government and law enforcers to take notice of the incident.

Also, quoting the victim’s family a relatively unknown organisation, the ‘Shia Wehdat News’, tweeted that it was a “sectarian killing” as the slain doctor got threats around two years back. He shifted from Hyderabad to Karachi around 10 years ago.

Dr Askari’s killing was the second incident in which a doctor was killed in the city in recent days.

On Aug 26, Dr Ayesha Rehman was gunned down in her Gulistan-i-Jauhar home by armed robbers. She was the sister-in-law of Sharea Faisal SHO Inspector Sarwar ‘Commando’ and came to the city from Canada to attend a marriage ceremony.

Gulshan SP Chachar claimed that the killers had been “traced”.

“This is one of the major gangs of criminals who mostly targeted houses for robberies,” he said, adding that the gang was involved in over 300 robberies in different parts of the city.

Man shot dead in Baldia

A 40-year-old man was shot dead in Baldia Town on Friday.

According to the Madina Colony police, Iqbal was going somewhere when armed pillion riders fired a single shot from behind near a graveyard in Baldia No. 7. He died on the spot.

The body was shifted to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.

Area SHO Imdad Ali Khowaja ruled out the possibility of an attempted robbery and said that it might be related to some personal enmity.

The victim originally hailed from Swat.

‘Addict’ held for killing son

A 10-year-old boy was allegedly murdered by his father in Ibrahim Hyderi area on Friday, according to police. They added that Sarwar allegedly strangled Kashan in Ilyas Goth.

Area SHO Ejaz Khan said that the police arrested the suspect, who is a beggar and addict.

He often beat his son under the influence of drugs.

The SHO said that he denied having killed his son, but area people witnessed the crime. Besides, the victim’s mother also told the police that her husband used to beat their son frequently, he added.

The body was shifted to the JPMC to fulfil medico-legal formalities. Doctors at the hospital said the body bore torture marks.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2019