Ambulances on their way to emergency sites . -File Photo

KARACHI: Two men were killed and three others wounded in what police suspected was a sectarian attack on three shops in Gulbahar’s hardware market on Tuesday, police said.

The Gulbahar area, a low-income neighbourhood in the city’s central district, has become Karachi’s new hotbed of sectarian, political and ethnic terrorism, where as many as 25 people have been targeted since Jan 1, police said.

They said that four assailants riding two motorcycles emerged near Peetal Gali in Gulbahar within the remit of the Rizvia police station, opened indiscriminate fire on people present at the three shops in the market and sped away.

An eyewitness told the police that one of the attackers took off his helmet to carry out the shooting and put it on again before fleeing.

Five people sustained bullet wounds and were rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

One of them, identified as Malik Niaz, was pronounced dead on arrival, while Wajid, Nizam, Hatim and Idrees were admitted for treatment. However, Idrees also died in the evening during treatment.

The police said that deceased Niaz had a hardware shop in Korangi and he had come to the market to buy goods. The second victim and other wounded worked in the three shops.

Fear and panic gripped the locality and the hardware market was shut in protest against the killings. The market association also announced that business would remain closed on Wednesday.

Following the killings, police authorities suspended Rizvia SHO Mohammad Rashid.

The police were not sure about the exact motive for the attack.

DIG-West Javed Odho said that the police suspected that it was an attack on sectarian grounds, but investigations were under way to gather facts.

He conceded that trouble had been brewing in Gulbahar and its adjoining areas. The situation in this particular area was complex and multi-dimensional. Sectarian, political and ethnic forces were active in the area, he observed.

Earlier on Monday night, a policeman had been gunned down in the same area in what was seen as a sectarian attack.

MQM man shot dead

A political activist was shot dead in Korangi on Tuesday.

Police said that armed men riding a motorcycle targeted Azmat Khan, 30, in Chakra Goth within the remit of the Zaman Town police station and fled. He was driving his car when the assailants fired at him.

The victim died before he could be taken to hospital. The police shifted the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medico-legal formalities.

The police said that the victim was an officer-bearer of the Muttahida Organising Committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s organisational structure in Korangi.

Killing in Clifton

A man was shot dead in Clifton on Tuesday, police said.

They said that assailants riding a motorcycle sprayed a car with bullets in Clifton Block-4 near the Russian Consulate within the remit of the Boat Basin police station.

They said that Essa Khan, who was driving the car, suffered serious gunshot wounds. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The police said that apparently the killing was an outcome of some personal enmity.

The victim was also carrying a weapon in the car, they said, adding that he was a resident of Lyari.

Three killed in 'encounter'

Three alleged bandits were killed in what the police described as an encounter on the Northern Bypass in the early hours of Tuesday.

Police said that as many as eight bandits snatched a container-mounted trailer laden with several tonnes of pulses near the Northern Bypass within the remit of the Manghopir police station. One of the workers sitting on the roof of the vehicle called the owner of the cargo, who informed the police helpline, the police said.

The trailer was signalled to stop by the police at a checkpoint. However, the suspects opened fire on the police and tried to escape. The police returned fire and killed three of them. Their other accomplices managed to escape.

The bodies were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities.

The police claimed to have recovered three pistols from the possession of the deceased.

Man shot dead in North Nazimabad

A civil work contractor was shot dead in a North Nazimabad area on Tuesday evening, police said.

They said that armed motorcyclists targeted 25-year-old Jehangir on Shahrah-i-Noorjehan when was going somewhere in his car. The victim died before he could be taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

The police said that he was a contractor working with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and lived in North Nazimabad’s Block Q.

Before leaving home, he had told his family that he was going to a nearby hospital, North Nazimabad SP Khurram Waris said.