A 25-year-old receptionist and a security guard were killed and at least three others were wounded when armed men attacked a Telenor franchise near the Matric Board Office in North Nazimabad on Tuesday.
This was the fourth time terrorists have attacked franchises of telecommunication companies. Since December 2011, two franchises, of Telenor and Mobilink each, have been attacked in the same manner. A regional sales officer at Warid was shot dead at one of the company’s franchise in Mehmoodabad on January 18 for what the police say was putting up a resistance to a robbery.
Although the Crime Investigation Department killed and arrested the men they said were responsible for the attacks, they had also warned that there might be more. The men they had nabbed and killed in an alleged encounter near Dalmia were from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and were targeting the franchises to compel the telecom companies to pay extortion.
At around 12:52pm, two armed men in shalwar kameez, entered the Telenor outlet and opened fire at the staffers before escaping within five minutes. As a result, Faiza, 25, security guard Mazhar Butt, salesman Mansoor, 37, and two customers, Waseem, 29, and Imtiaz, 26, were wounded. They were rushed to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced Faiza and Mazhar dead and the two others as critical. Faiza, who was married, lived in Nazimabad and Mazhar in Orangi Town.
“The security guard had placed his weapon inside and was going out for some work when he was targeted,” said the manager of the outlet, Shahzad Khan, who was also present inside. He escaped unharmed as he locked himself into a room. “Then the men came inside and opened fire.”
He said that the men even opened the fire on the entrance door and windows inside the franchise. Police officers reached the site soon after.
They said that one attacker was injured in the firing by his own companion.
“Apparently, this is part of the series of attacks on franchises whose purpose is extortion,” said District West DIG Imran Yaqoob Minhas. “We solved the previous two cases in which a Taliban member was killed and another was arrested. Perhaps these guys were their buddies.”
SP Chaudhry Asad told The Express Tribune that the police have obtained the CCTV footage and are questioning the men arrested in the earlier attacks.
The owner of the franchise, Noman, is outside Pakistan which is why the police registered an FIR on behalf of the manager.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2012.