KARACHI: Fear and violence returned to Orangi Town after a brief lull on Monday when six people, including a Muttahida Qaumi Movement worker, were gunned down in separate attacks that also left over a dozen others wounded, police and party sources said.
The renewed wave of violence began with the ‘targeted killing’ of a senior MQM activist in Aligarh Bazaar that was followed by gun attacks on pedestrians and passersby.
The incident paralysed life across the town as traders pulled down shutters and traffic gradually disappeared from roads amid intermittent gunfire.
The city police chief said security measures had been taken to stem the violence and prevent it from spreading to other towns. “An additional police force has been deployed in affected parts of the town,” said Capital City Police Officer Saud Mirza.
“The violence in fact was sparked by the killing of an activist and we have found that there were random attacks afterwards which caused casualties. We have confirmed reports of five deaths in such acts,” the CCPO said.
However, officials at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Civil Hospital and Qatar Hospital said that they had received six bodies and 13 injured from the strife-hit areas of Aligarh, Qasba Colony, Kali Pahari, Bukhari Colony and Muslimabad.
The police said that 36-year-old Shafiq Ahmed Ajmairi was sitting with friends in Aligarh Bazaar when he was targeted. They said he resided in the same area and was associated with the MQM organisational structure’s Orangi Town Unit No 133.
“A few minutes later another resident, Akbar Sultan, was gunned down in Aligarh near Shahzad Marble,” said SP Khurram Waris of Orangi Town.
He said that while Shafiq Ajmairi was apparently targeted for his political association, the motive behind the other killing was not yet clear.
The police were busy taking measures in the Aligarh area to calm the angry people when armed men struck again. This time they targeted a weekly market near Kali Pahari along Bukhari Colony and the Muslimabad area of Orangi Town.
“In indiscriminate firing, a middle-aged man, Abdul Ghafoor, and a youngster, Adeel Dilawar, were killed and three others sustained bullet wounds,” said an official at the Orangi Town police station. The wounded victims were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment, he said.
Besides, a young man was brought dead with two bullet wounds in the torso to the civil hospital from the Aligarh area, hospital sources said.
An official at the medico-legal section said the family of 22-year-old Faiz Mohammad took back his body without allowing legal formalities to be carried out.
In Bukhari Colony, the police said, a 25-year-old man was shot dead. The victim was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where he was identified as Ashfaq Yaqoob.
The MQM leadership blamed the Awami National Party (ANP) for the violence that claimed the lives of MQM workers and supporters.
“The ANP is attempting to destroy the city’s peace through bloodshed, which is highly condemnable,” said the MQM coordination committee in a statement.
“The coordination committee demands that President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rahman Malik ensure arrest of terrorists and [order] a crackdown against their hideouts in the metropolis.”
However, a spokesman for the ANP — partner with the MQM in the PPP-led coalition government in the centre and the province — denied its involvement in the Orangi Town violence.
“We strongly condemn the incident and would welcome a government action against those involved in the violence regardless of their political association,” he said.