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Slain MQM lawmaker laid to rest in Karachi

January 18, 2013

Shop closed down in Saddar area of Karachi after killing of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Sindh Assembly Member, Manzar Imam who was assassinated on Thursday, January 17, 2013. — Photo by PPI

KARACHI: Funeral prayers for Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) provincial lawmaker Syed Manzar Imam and three of his guards were offered at in Karachi on Friday. The four men were shot dead by Pakistani Taliban gunmen the previous day.

The funeral procession in Azizabad’s Jinnah ground was attended by a large number of MQM workers as well as delegations of the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders.

Speaking to media representatives after the funeral, MQM leaders severely condemned the killing, but vowed that they could not be threatened by such cowardly acts.

“Our peacefulness should not be taken as our weakness,” said MQM lawmaker Raza Haroon speaking after the funeral. Haroon said that this is not the first time that the MQM has been been attacked.

Haroon urged political parties to shun their differences and to work together in the fight against terrorism to save Pakistan.

Imam was laid to rest at Shuhada graveyard, while the other three bodies were sent for burial to Orangi Town.

Karachi, Hyderabad come to a standstill

Businesses, markets and educational institutes remained shut on Friday in Karachi, Hyderabad and other rural cities after the MQM’s announcement of a three-day mourning period over the killing of its provincial lawmaker.

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.

Public and private transport remained sparse as roads presented a desolated look.

Private and government educational institutions announced closure for the Dayand the Karachi University’s and Federal Urdu University’s examinations scheduled for the day were announced postponed.

The MPA’s murder on Thursday had sparked violence in Karachi and several other cities and towns of 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.

Taliban claim responsibility

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the killing of the provincial lawmaker, a spokesman for the banned outfit told on Thursday.

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

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, the Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also belonging to the ANP called MQM chief Altaf and offered condolence over the incident. The ANP had also announced three day mourning.

The 46-year-old slain lawmaker, Syed Manzar Imam, had joined the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1986. He remained associated with the Orangi Town sector of the MQM’s organisational structure and was elected as an MPA in the 2008 election from PS-95.

He left a widow, two children, two brothers, three sisters and his mother. He was a Karachi University graduate. While many people believed he was a Shia, he was actually a Sunni.

His name came to the limelight after the August 2010 killing of MQM lawmaker Raza Haider, who was also elected from an Orangi Town constituency (PS-94), when police investigators had said that Manzar Imam, too, was a potential target of the terrorists who killed MPA Haider on sectarian grounds.