Pakistanis shift the body of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) provincial lawmaker Manzar Imam from a hospital morgue in Karachi on Jan 17, 2013.—AFP Photo

KARACHI: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the killing of a provincial lawmaker belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a spokesman for the banned outfit told on Thursday.

Gunmen on Thursday had shot dead four people, including the MQM’s provincial lawmaker Manzar Imam in Karachi’s Orangi town area.

“A member of the Sindh provincial assembly was killed with three of his guards when gunmen on two motorcycles intercepted his car in Orangi neighbourhood and shot them with automatic weapons,” police spokesman Imran Shaukat said.

Police said the gunmen had fled the scene following the shooting.

In a telephone call to a correspondent from an undisclosed location, spokesman for the TTP, Ehsanullah Ehsan, claimed responsibility for the killing, saying it was the second targeted attack in Karachi that they had carried out on the political party.

According to an eyewitness, the MPA, along with his police guards was passing by Orangi town’s Hyderi Chowk area when four gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on the vehicle, reported APP.

Imam and one of his guards lost their lives on the spot, while the other two injured died while being treated for their wounds in the hospital, said the eyewitness report.

Imam was elected from the PS-95 Karachi VII seat, and served as member on the Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee on Cooperation , Standing Committee on Environment and Alternate Energy and the Standing Committee on Prisons.

Karachi tense after shooting

Tensions rose in Karachi immediately after Thursday’s shooting. Many markets closed and people rushed home to avoid any potential violent backlash.

It is the second shooting of an MQM provincial lawmaker in just over two years in Karachi, Pakistan’s business centre with a population of 18 million.

The death of MQM lawmaker Raza Haider in an ambush in August 2010 sparked a fierce wave of ethnic and politically linked violence that killed scores of people.

Karachi last year saw its deadliest year in two decades, with around 2,000 people killed in violence linked to ethnic and political tensions, raising fears for elections due this year.

On Jan 1, a Taliban bombing in Karachi near a political rally held by the MQM had claimed at least four lives and injured several others.

(Zahir Shah Sherazi contributed to reporting)