The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Monday alleged that three party workers were shot dead by PPP “terrorists” during an election campaign in Karachi’s Machhar Colony.
MQM-P Deputy Convener Anis Kaimkhani alleged that PPP workers attacked the party’s workers while they were busy campaigning for the upcoming general election.
In a statement, he said MQM-P candidates and workers were injured when “PPP terrorists opened fire on our local leaders and workers under the leadership of the local officials”.
Kaimkhani alleged that the “primary suspect” of the attack, Nisar Khan, was a local PPP leader and the coordinator of former health minister Abdul Qadir Patel.
“During the attack, two MQM-P workers were injured while three people were killed,” he said. “The injured workers have been moved to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” he added.
He demanded immediate action from interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir that “strict punishment should be given to the terrorists of the PPP, who attacked the MQM-P’s election office, martyred three workers and injured several others, according to the law after arresting them.”
Sindh police chief Riffat Mukhtar Raja took notice of the incident and sought details from South Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Syed Asad Raza.
Meanwhile, DIG Raza said the clash erupted between the two groups near the Umer Bin Khattab mosque. He identified two of the deceased as 55-year-old Siraj alias Siraji and Abdul alias Abdu.
“All the victims were Bengalis,” he said. Raza said that according to the preliminary investigation, the shooting was the result of an enmity between “Bengalis and Pakhtuns” over a property dispute.
The DIG said main suspect Nisar and his brother Gulzar were arrested. He said that the rifle and pistol used in the shooting were also seized.
Police contingents, led by the Keamari division assistant superintendent, rushed to the spot and encircled the locality, the senior officer said. He added that a search operation was launched to arrest the remaining suspects.
The DIG ruled out any “political reason” behind the shooting, reiterating that the issue was over a land dispute between Siraj and Nisar which took an untoward turn.
However, a statement from the Keamari police said that “relationship of the deceased has come to light with a political party,” adding that the incident was being investigated from all angles and strict legal action would be taken against the suspects.
Raza said that the land in question originally belonged to the Karachi Port Trust. “The dispute between the victim Siraj and the main suspect had been going on for the last five to six years,” the official said.
He said that three meetings had already taken place to settle the dispute. The police officer said that earlier today the prayer leader of the Umer Bin Khattab mosque had called both the parties to resolve the dispute.
However, an argument broke out and the suspects opened fire, which killed three people and injured one other.
The senior officer said that one of the victims, Siraj, had a criminal record, adding that there were 16 cases registered against him. He said the deceased was released from jail recently.
Siraj was reportedly visiting the spot for the last three days for resolution of the land dispute on the invitation of a local imam.
The bodies were shifted to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi to fulfil legal formalities.