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Killing of MQM legislator shuts down Karachi

January 17, 2013

KARACHI: A member of the Sindh Assembly belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was killed along with three guards here on Thursday.

The gruesome murder of MPA Manzar Imam sparked violence in Karachi and several other cities and towns of interior Sindh. Markets were closed, public transport disappeared from roads and petrol and CNG stations were shut down. Four men were killed and several others were injured and four vehicles were set on fire in different areas of Karachi.

Manzar Imam was the second Muttahida MPA killed by gunmen since the present government came to power in 2008. Before him, Raza Haider was shot dead in 2010.

Police said the assailants who were on two motorcycles targeted Mr Imam’s car at Nishan-i-Hyder Chowk near a restaurant in Orangi Town. “Five men, two wearing trousers and shirts and three shalwar kameez, fired a volley of bullets on the car and escaped,” DIG West Zone Javed Odho told Dawn.

He said casings of several spent bullets fired from 9mm pistol and AK-47 rifle had been found at the place. However, he said there was a possibility that the police guards had returned fire and their weapons were being checked to ascertain facts.

The DIG said it was difficult at this stage to determine the motive behind the killing, but it appeared that an extremist outfit had carried out the attack.

The injured were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where MPA Imam and two guards were pronounced dead. The third guard died during treatment. Police guards, Sajjad and Imran, were posted at Khawaja Ajmair Nagri police lines while Murad was the MPA’s personal guard, police said. Manzar Imam was elected from PS-95.

Raza Haider, who was gunned down on August 10, 2010, in Nazimabad, had won the PS-94 seat.

According to a police officer, the Sindh chief of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi arrested by the CID on Oct 18 last year had told investigators that Manzar Imam was on their hit list.

There were reports of firing from different parts of the city and roads were blocked by burning tyres.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain termed the killing of Manzar Imam part of a plot to disturb Karachi’s peace and urged people and workers of his party to remain peaceful.

The MQM announced three days of mourning. Muttahida leader Wasay Jalil said two MPAs of his party had lost their lives to target killings in the city. Another elected representative of the MQM had been gunned down by Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Haider Abbas Rizvi tweeted.

The transport association announced that transporters would keep their vehicles off the road and the All Karachi Traders’ Alliance said businesses and markets in the city would remain closed on Friday.

Private schools associations also announced closure of their schools on Friday.

Giving details about the killings during violence triggered by Mr Imam’s murder, police said two seminary students were attacked in the Korangi Industrial Area. Mohammad Hasan died on the spot while Noor Fayyaz suffered injuries in the head. He was taken to JPMC.

Police said both were students of a seminary run by JUI-F.

Two other men were gunned down in Korangi -- Qari Mohammad Talha, 26, in Bhatti Colony and Asghar Noorani in Zaman Town.

Police said Qari Talha was an activist of Ahle Sunaat Wal Jamaat.

An unidentified man was shot dead by gunmen in PECHS area.