KARACHI, Dec 30: A prayer leader was shot dead in a targeted attack apparently on sectarian grounds near Hill Park on Sunday, police said.

Maulana Rafiqul Khalil, 35, was heading to the Alamgir Masjid in Bahdurabad from his Korangi seminary in his car when assailants riding a motorbike sprayed his vehicles with bullets near Hill Park on Shaheed-i-Millat Road and escaped.

“His driver noticed that two men on a motorcycle were following them and he tried to speed away. However, the assailants started firing near Hill Park and the Maulana suffered a single shot in the neck,” DIG-East Aleem Jafri said. “The driver didn’t stop and drove the car straight to the Alamgir Masjid from where the victim was rushed to the Liaquat National Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

The police said Maulana Khalil was the prayer leader of the Alamgir Masjid and was coming from his seminary located in Korangi.

A senior police officer associated with the investigation of the case said Maulana Khalil was formally associated with a banned religious outfit.

Considering his background, the police were of the opinion that the attack on Maulana Khalil had a sectarian motive and was related to the ongoing spate of sectarian strife taking place in the city.

In 2001, Anwar Naseem Chandna, the chief of one of the country's major social welfare organisations, Alamgir Welfare Trust, was shot dead in a similar manner near Alamgir mosque in Bahadurabad.

Young man shot dead

A young man was shot dead in Baldia Town on Sunday.

Police said that the incident took place in Ghazi Goth near Bismillah Chowk within the remit of the Baldia Town police station, where unknown assailants riding a motorbike targeted Sher Khan, 35, who was also riding a motorcycle.

They said the victim suffered two bullet wounds in the chest and head and died on the spot.

The police shifted the body to the Civil Hospital for medico-legal formalities.

The investigators suspected some personal enmity as a likely motive for the killing.