MIRPURKHAS, April 21: Two leaders and an activist of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) were killed and another leader injured in an attack on their car by a group of men at Khipro canal near Sanghar on Thursday.

They were going from Khipro to Sanghar when their car came under attack and its gas cylinder burst. The car caught fire and JSMM vice-chairman Serai Qurban Khuhawar, leader Rooplo Choliani and driver Aziz Thebo were burnt to death. The party’s central committee member Noorullah Tunio was taken to the Sanghar Civil Hospital with 70 per cent burn injuries and later referred to the Nawabshah Civil Hospital when his condition deteriorated. According to Sanghar district police chief Abdullah Shaikh, preliminary investigation indicated that the incident might have been a result of factionalism in the organisation. He said three double-cabin vehicles had been following the JSMM leaders’ car for two days and the assailants got an opportunity to kill them in a deserted area.

He said Mr Tunio had given a statement.

The DPO said the bodies had been handed over to Mir Alam Mari, Niaz Kalani and other nationalist leaders after post-mortem and would be sent to Kandhkot for burial. Several nationalist organisations announced mourning for three to 10 days and a strike on Friday in protest against the attack.

Businesses were shut in Jam Shakh, Kandiari, Sindhri, Tagosar, Khipro, 10 Mile Mori and other areas after the incident.

Nationalist leaders, including Basheer Khan Qureshi and Abdul Wahid Arisar of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Ayaz Latif Palijo of Awami Tehrik and Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Taraqi Passand Party, condemned the incident and demanded arrest of the attackers.

Our Staff Correspondent in Hyderabad adds: Noorullah Tunio, 30, was brought to the burns ward of the Hyderabad Civil Hospital.

Dr Ghulam Mustafa Abbasi of the hospital said his condition was serious and he would have to be taken to Karachi.

The leaders were going to Sanghar to mobilise party workers for the death anniversary of G.M. Syed, founder of Jeay Sindh Tehrik, to be observed on April 25.

Rooplo Choliani and Serai Qurban had left Bashir Qureshi’s JSQM to join the JSMM. Mr Khuhawar belonged to Shahdadkot and Mr Choliani to Warah. Mr Tunio also belongs to Shahdadkot.

Activists of the JSMM, led by the party’s district chief Faqir Najeeb Qureshi, held a protest demonstration in Qasimabad. Shops in the area were closed, but police got them reopened after some time.