KAARCHI: At least eight persons were killed in separate armed attacks on Tuesday, with the violence-prone Orangi Town emerging as the worst-hit part of the metropolis and witnessing five deaths in a day, police and area residents said.Police claims about the arrest of a key suspect involved in targeted killings and security measures promised by the authorities — both in the centre and the province — have so far failed to be effective, as the deadly violence that returned to Karachi last week continued unabated, claiming more than 43 lives in the last few days.
City police chief Saud Mirza said that “apparently” the fresh spate of killings were executed on ethnic grounds. He said the killing of an activist in Pirabad sparked armed attacks elsewhere that claimed lives of labourers and roadside vendors.
“We have strengthened our position in the affected areas,” he said. “But unfortunately it has been witnessed that unconfirmed reports on the broadcast media spread more panic and scare than the situation on ground warranted. I would appeal to the media to verify news reports before airing them.”
He said the police and the Rangers were holding flag-marches in the affected parts of Orangi Town and facts were being gathered for action against the suspects.
Routine life in Orangi Town became paralysed with businesses staying closed and traffic off the roads after two fatal incidents of firing within half-an-hour left five people dead and more than a dozen others wounded.
A few of the wounded admitted to different hospitals were declared to be in a critical condition by doctors.
The series of gunfire incidents were triggered by an armed attack near a crowded area in Qasba Colony, housing many commercial setups, including restaurants, general stores, auto workshops and dozens of roadside vendors, who gather there daily to earn their living.
“Four armed riders got off their two motorcycles and fired randomly at people engaged in regular business,” said an official at the Pirabad police station. “In the firing, two roadside vendors — later identified as Abdul Rahman and Jamal Ahmed — were killed. Thirty-seven-year-old Abdul Rahman was a resident of Muslimabad No 2 and the father of five while Jamal lived in the Jehangirabad area.”
The firing that also left some five people wounded sparked panic in the area and people ran for safety, he said, adding that the victims were shifted to the Valika Hospital near Banaras Chowk and the Qatar Hospital in Orangi Town. This forced the shopkeepers to pull down their shutters, and people in one of the densely populated neighbourhoods disappeared within a few minutes.
However, gunmen struck again and in the fresh assault left two more youngsters dead and more than half a dozen wounded when they attacked a roadside restaurant near the Metro Cinema, a couple of kilometres from the spot of the first incident. The Pirabad police official said one of the dead was identified as 36-year-old Nazuk Hussain.
“Some seven people wounded in this firing incident are being treated at the Qatar Hospital and the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” he said, adding that eyewitness accounts suggested that the firing near the Metro Cinema was carried out by two men on a motorbike.
The firing in Qasba Colony, Orangi Town 10 and 5, Aligarh Colony, Faqeer Colony, Kati Pahari, Frontier Colony and adjacent parts of the town caused the residents to stay indoors and traffic on the newly built Banaras flyover and the road running through the Kati Pahari remained suspended.
Violence cut off Orangi Town from the rest of the city for a seventh time in recent months. Area people said hundreds of industrial workers were unable to return to their homes in different blocks of Orangi Town because of a breakdown of law and order.
“Isolated incidents of firing were also reported, in which a young man was killed near Banaras Chowk. He was identified as Khushhal Khan. A Rangers man also received bullet wounds during the frequent gunfire in the area,” said the Pirabad police official.
In the early hours of the day, a youngster was gunned down on M. A. Jinnah Road. The Arambagh police said the 22-year-old victim, Parkash Rajan, was a resident of Ranchhore Line and was targeted near a well-known medical store on M.A. Jinnah Road.
“It's not completely clear though the initial findings of our probe suggest that the victim was associated with a political party,” said the official.
Similarly an aged industrial worker was killed in Landhi early in the morning, when he was waiting for a bus to travel to work. The police said that 60-year-old Tahir Zadar was hit by three bullets fired from a very close range near the Hospital Chowrangi within the remit of the Quaidabad police station.
“He was a resident of Gulshan-i-Buner in Landhi and hailed from Swat,” said Inspector Sajjad Haider, the SHO of the Quaidabad police station, who declared the incident a result of personal enmity, but could not explain the reasons for his assertion.
In Federal B Area, a trailer truck came under an armed attack that left one of the men on the heavy vehicle dead and two others wounded.
An official at the Gulberg police station said that four men on two motorbikes fired at trailer truck near Ayesha Manzil when it was heading towards Sohrab Goth.
“The dead has been identified as Moin Khan and the two injured are Lal Hussain and Abdul Hameed. The dead and the injured had been shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” said an official at the Gulberg police station.