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People gather outside the MQM sector office in Hyderabad soon after three of the party's activists were gunned down on Sunday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Three Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activists were gunned down and one activist was wounded in a targeted attack at the MQM SITE sector office — a unit of the party’s organisational structure — within the remit of the SITE police station on Sunday, officials and sources said.

The incident took place hours before a 29th central founding day programme of the party to be held in Mirpurkhas on Monday.

Some area people and SITE police station SHO Naeemuddin Siddiqui said that three armed men arrived on a motorbike and only one of them opened fire on the victims, who were sitting outside the sector office. One of the attackers was wearing a helmet, the police official added.

The incident occurred when the electricity supply was shut in the area, local people said.

MQM sector chief Naveed Abbasi said that he saw that one of the three armed men had a long and thick beard. “He was wearing a shawl over his clothes,” he added.

The deceased were identified as 35-year-old Ghulam Murtaza, son of Rasool Bux Noonari, his 30-year-old cousin Sher Mohammad, son of Soomar Noonari and 40-year-old Azeem Khuman, son of Usman Khuman. The victims were taken to the Liaquat University Hospital city branch. A large number of people and MQM activists gathered at the hospital.

The wounded activist, Wahid Bux Noonari, was shifted from the hospital to Karachi after treatment.

According to the hospital’s medico-legal officer, Dr Samad Solangi, the victims had received multiple-bullet wounds fired from a very close range. He said that Murtaza, Sher Mohammad and Azeem Khuman received three, two and three bullets, respectively.

“Given the nature of their wounds, no post-mortem examination was required and even their family members were not ready for that. So I only noted the number of wounds on their bodies,” he added.

Speaking to Dawn, Wahid Bux Noonari, before his shifting to Karachi, said: “I could not see the faces of the attackers as a bullet hit me on my back. I immediately tried to cover myself to escape a volley of bullets.”

He said Sher Mohammad and Murtaza were his relatives, who  had arrived at the sector office to get employment in a local soft-drink factory.  “They wanted me to request the factory management for jobs,” Noonari said. A senior police officer, however, said that the police had received a tip-off that a dispute was going on between Shoros and Noonari communities of the area for some time.