Afaq Ahmed’s worst fears materialised on Saturday when his security squad was ambushed, leaving a policeman dead, and two others injured. Ever since the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi leader was released this year after eight years in jail, he has said that people were out to kill him.
This was the second major attack on Saturday morning. Just 30 minutes earlier, two armed riders shot dead lawyer Salahuddin, formerly with the Malir Bar Association, and his son.
At least five men attacked the MQM-H security squad in Landhi 89 when Afaq’s driver, activist Munawar Khan, went to refuel the car. He was accompanied by policemen, Faisal, 32, and Habibullah, 39.
MQM-H leader Khalid Hameed said Afaq Ahmed was preparing to leave for Hyderabad to attend a relative’s wedding. “It was a long journey, so [the driver] went to fill diesel. As soon as he reached the pump terrorists lying in wait opened fire,” he said. “They were cowards as they could not attack the convoy.”
Afaq cancelled all his engagements and visited Jinnah hospital to meet the injured policeman and activist. He urged the Supreme Court to take notice of violence in Karachi. “We don’t want to be forced to take steps [to protect ourselves] that would destroy the peace of Karachi,” he said.
Meanwhile, at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, MQM-H vice chairman Shamshad Ghauri said that it was an attempt on Afaq Ahmed’s life and the police were distorting facts to protect certain people.
Ghauri, along with Kashif Zai and Tariq Nizami, alleged that the attack was the responsibility of the government. Ghauri said that his party was struggling against illegal weapons in the city. “We have been saying that it is quite necessary that the government should take notice of the illegal weapons in the city if it wants to save the country,” he said.
The first attack, on the lawyer in Malir City, has taken place in the middle of a spurt of sectarian violence while nearby Landhi is in the grip of political strife. Even though the two attacks were a mere 2.5 kilometres apart, the police ruled out a link. “Both cases are of a completely different nature from each other,” commented Landhi SP Waqar Malhan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.