KARACHI, April 8: Nearly all the doctors shot dead during the recent years were middle-aged, nearing or in their early 40’s.
A review of the killings showed that almost all of them were targeted while going to work or returning home from their clinics or hospitals. In a few incidents doctors were killed in their clinics while examining their patients.
In the last month killings, Dr Alay Safdar Zaidi and Dr Muzaffar Ali Samoo were gunned down during their early morning routine drives. Both the doctors were heading for work after dropping their children at school.
Dr Yousaf Husain Ghori, aged 35, a general physician and Dr Anwarul Islam, aged 40, an ENT specialist associated with the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, were gunned down in North Karachi and Karimabad respectively, during night.
Following the target killing of Dr Safdar Zaidi on Mar 4, the family of the diseased received several threatening calls, reminding them of Dr Zaidi’s fate.
Similar calls were even made to the house of the victim’s other relatives located yards away from Zaidi’s house, which shows the killers had done their homework thoroughly.
Dr Zaidi’s family told that had arrived in the city from Canada a year ago and joined the Kidney Centre six months back.
“He had literally thrown away his medical practice in Canada, to come and settle in his country, to meet this fate”, the victim’s brother remarked.
A week after Dr Zaidi’s killing one of his batch-mates, a nephrologist working in a major hospital of the city, left the country fearing for his life.
Dr Muzaffar Ali Samoo, aged 40, a resident of Lyari and father of three, might have been be saved if police had taken serious note of the confessional statements of the three suspects earlier picked up by them.
A senior police official told Dawn that police had picked up three suspects from Lyari, belonging to the an extremist group. During interrogation the suspects had revealed that they had been assigned to monitor the movement of a doctor having a white Suzuki Mehran, and residing in the Baghdadi area.
However, the information was not taken seriously by the police and one of the suspects got out on bail before the killing. Dr Muzaffar Ali Samoo was very popular in the area and used to charge only Rs10 at his private clinic. An RMO at the Lyari General Hospital, he used to do private practice in the evening in the same area.
Dr Ghori was a young doctor shot dead in his clinic in North Karachi. He was the second or third doctor to be shot dead, associated with that particular clinic. However, not all of them were shot dead in the clinic.
Dr Anwarul Islam, aged 40, was a remarkable person and equally good ENT specialist working at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, his follow doctors maintained.
Though the investigation wing of the police department, the CID, recently claimed that it had busted a ring of involved in sectarian killings, the claims seems a mere eyewash as there is no letup in killings except some intermittent gaps.
“It seems that sudden spates of killings are followed by a lull which might span over week or months”, said a police official.
Four doctors were gunned down in March alone in various parts of the city including Defence, Lyari, North Karachi and Karimabad. No arrest was made. Last year police had constituted a special team to look into such killings, but in vain.
According to the statistics compiled by the police department, since 1994 thirty four doctors have been shot dead in the city by unknown assailants.