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Karachi violence takes ominous turn

Karachi violenceKARACHI: At least nine people were killed in incidents of violence in Karachi on Monday.

Commercial centres remained closed and traffic thinned out as tension and fear gripped some areas during funeral of five people who were shot dead on Sunday night.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Dr Farooq Sattar held the federal interior ministry and the Sindh home department responsible for the renewed wave of violence in the city. “If they are not responsible, then they should tell us as to why they failed to curb the acts of terror in the city,” he said at a press conference here on Monday.

He said that conspirators wanted to malign the MQM in the eyes of the international community by linking the fresh incident of targeted killings with the assassination of Dr Imran Farooq.

At least three people were killed and six others injured on Monday during violence in Nazimabad area after a young man was killed allegedly in firing by the Rangers. He was returning home with dozens of other people after attending the funeral of a victim of target killing, officials and witnesses said.

Rizvia Society and the main Nazimabad Chowrangi turned into a battleground after an exchange of fire between the Rangers and armed men kept traffic off the roads for two hours. The residents were confined to their homes.

The incident triggered acts of arson in other parts of the city. A number of vehicles and roadside stalls were set on fire.

The Rangers and police authorities claimed that their personnel had to fire in self-defence after some armed men attacked a picket near Liaquatabad Dakkhana. “Some youngsters who were returning to the area after attending a funeral fired at a Rangers picket in Dakkhana. Our personnel only retaliated in defence,” said a spokesman for the Sindh Rangers.

Police said the exchange of fire killed two youngsters, identified as Nasir Ali and Akbar. The bodies were shifted to Abbassi Shaheed Hospital and a private health facility.

Police said the situation turned ugly when Rangers personnel chased the armed men and engaged them for an hour.

In the second incident, a young man, identified as Shahzeb Abbass, was killed in Rizvia Society. His body was shifted to the Abbassi Shaheed Hospital, which also received eight of the injured.

“The Rangers’ reaction was quite natural. They returned fire only after they came under attack. It’s absolutely a wrong impression that they fired at innocent people,” DIG West Sultan Khawja said. “The clash between the armed men and law-enforcement personnel near Rizvia Society left one assistant sub-inspector wounded.”

He said that three or four suspects had been detained and they were being interrogated. “Our force is trying to defuse the temperature and avert further losses.”

Two buses, two cars, a rickshaw and eight roadside stalls were set on fire on the road between Rizvia Society and Gulbahar. A bus was also set ablaze on Abul Hasan Isphahani Road. Five fire-fighters were injured when they came under attack near Rizvia Society.

Leaders of the Jafria Alliance Pakistan and Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen blamed law-enforcement personnel for the violence. “The mourners were returning after attending the burial of Tanveer Abbass. They were unduly attacked by the Rangers near Dakkhana,” said Allama Abbass Kumaili of the Jafria Alliance Pakistan.

He accused the paramilitary forces of fuelling the violence and called for an inquiry into the incident.

Police said that six people, an MQM worker among them, had been killed in separate incidents of firing in the city on Monday.

They said that 29-year-old Ziaul Islam, an activist of the MQM’s Bengali Action Committee, was found shot dead in a coastal locality of Korangi on Monday. The victim’s hands and legs were found tied up with rope.

In Sohrab Goth, a young man was chased and killed by armed men on motorcycles near his residence, police said. They said 35-year-old Riaz Magsi was returning home from Al Karam Square after meeting a friend in Saifullah Goth, near Khamiso Goth.

The victim, police said, hailed from Balochistan and ran a small business in Karachi. He was not associated with any political or religious party and the killing appeared to have been motivated by personal enmity.

In a Malir, Mohammad Aslam was killed outside Baba Gharib Ali Shah shrine.

The owner of a tyre puncture shop was gunned down in North Nazimabad.

“Imran, 27, was targeted inside his shop near Farooq-i-Azam Masjid,” according to the Shahrah-i-Noor Jehan police station. The victim lived in a rented residence in Nusrat Bhutto Colony.

In Bin Qasim Town, police found the slaughtered body of a young man who, they believed, was killed at least three days ago. “The victim appeared to be in his early 30s. The body, shifted to Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth, remained unidentified,” Sukkun police said.

The driver of a passenger coach was gunned down in Landhi late on Monday night. The area police said that armed men riding on a motorcycle tried to stop the Ilyas Coach near Majeed Colony, but the driver, sensing danger, pressed the accelerator. “When they failed to stop the coach, one of the men fired multiple shots. Two bullets hit the driver who died on the spot,” Sub-Inspector Muhammad Khan said.

The deceased was identified as 37-year-old Rana Gul, a resident of Ittehad Town. The body was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

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