A senior workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and another of the Awami National Party were killed in what appeared to be the year’s first targeted attacks motivated by political consideration, followed by arson attacks on vehicles and incidents of firing in different parts of the city on Monday night, police said.
Adil Akhtar Jafri, 35, was heading to the MQM office in the Nazimabad area on a motorbike when two armed motorcyclists targeted him near a fuel station at the Inquiry Office bus stop, the police and party sources said.
The victim was the Nazimabad-Gulbahar joint sector in charge of the MQM, said Wasay Jalil, a spokesman for the party. He said Adil Akhtar Jafri was unmarried and a resident of the Golimar area.
“He was targeted as he came down from the Nazimabad bridge towards the Inquiry Office bus stop,” said SP Naveed Khawaja of Liaquatabad Town.
“He was hit by three bullets fired from a very close range by a 9mm pistol and died on the spot. The body was later shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities.”
The MQM coordination committee, which met following the targeted killing, demanded that Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza take notice of the party worker’s assassination and order immediate arrest of the killers.
The targeted killing was followed by arson attacks in Nazimabad within the remit of the Rizvia police station.
A rickshaw and a bus of 2-K route were set on fire at Gol Market and Habib Chowrangi, respectively, causing fear and tension in different blocks of Nazimabad.
A minibus was set on fire on University Road near the Met Office and roadside stalls were torched in arson attacks on Abul Hasan Ispahani Road.
Reports of gunfire were also received from North Karachi, UP Morr, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Gulistan-i-Jauhar that forced residents to stay indoors and traders to pull down their shutters.
Later, a large number of MQM activists reached the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where the victim had been shifted. Business activities around the health facility were also suspended.
The police claimed they had enhanced patrolling in sensitive areas and there was no report of any untoward incident in any part of the town.
“Rangers personnel are also assisting the area police. We have not yet found any eyewitness to the incident but the facts that we have gathered through police sources suggest that at least two people attacked Mr Jafri,” said SP Khawaja.
In an earlier armed attack, a senior vice president of the ANP’s Al Falah Ward was killed in the Malir area, police and party sources said.
They added that the attack also left a labourer dead and a passer-by wounded.
The police said Aziz Khan, in his mid 30s, was targeted at his cabin shop in Pathan Goth on main Jamia Millia Road. He was busy in his routine business when four men riding two motorbikes opened fire on him.
“Witnesses said they saw that four motorcyclists pull up close to the paan shop and a couple of the riders opened intense fire on the cabin before fleeing,” said SSP Javed Akbar Riaz of Shah Faisal Town.
“Aziz Khan died on the spot and a young worker of the neighbouring food centre, Tariq, sustained gunshot wounds in the attack,” he said, adding that the brief episode of firing was so intense that a passer-by Wasim was also hit.
Both the wounded victims were rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for treatment.Tariq, who hailed from Kashmir, succumbed to his wounds during treatment.
Doctors said that Aziz Khan received three bullets in his head, chest and shoulder. The body was handed over to the victim’s heirs after medico-legal formalities at the JPMC.
Police said that he was a resident of Pathan Goth and married, with a child.
Investigators found more than a dozen spent bullet casings of 9mm pistol from the crime-scene. They said they were also gathering facts behind the deadly firing to determine the attackers’ appearance.
Though the police remained clueless about the exact motive and the people behind the double murder, the ANP sounded confident enough to claim that their office-bearer was attacked only for his political association.
“The victim was senior vice president of the ANP for Al-Falah Ward,” said an ANP spokesman.
“Only a month ago, a founding member of the Loya Jirga and activist of the Pakhtoon Action Committee, Pir Yasin Khan, was killed at the same place but still his killers are at large.”
In a statement, Senator Haji Adeel, who is senior vice president of the ANP, sought intervention from the Sindh chief minister over the “deadly trend to eliminate political rivals”.
He said: “It’s an attempt to sabotage the peace struggle of the ANP leadership for Karachi. We strongly condemn the frequent killings of our workers in Karachi and want the chief minister to take note of that before it’s too late.”
It is worth noting that over 370 people lost their lives to targeted killings in 2010, up from the 160 victims in 2009.