Fear and panic kept the city in its grip again on Wednesday evening, after a new wave of violence ensued after an Awami National Party (ANP) activist was killed and another injured.
According to SP Tanvir Alam Odho, Zainul Abideen, the joint secretary of ANP Patel Para Ward and Sajid Hasanzai, the president, were on their way to Patel Para after meeting with Mohammad Khan Afridi in New Karachi when two armed motorcyclists shot at their car.
Hasanzai said that Abideen sped the car as the men kept shooting. They reached the intermediate board office from where other party workers took them to a private hospital on stadium road, where Abideen died. He had been shot four times.
As the news spread, violence erupted in Patel Para, Teen Hatti, Guru Mandir Chowrangi, Banaras, Lasbella, Essa Nagri, Pehlwan Goth, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Sohrab Goth, Lasbella Chowk and Nishtar Road. Two more people died, one in Gulbahar and another in PIB Colony. The ANP has called for a day mourning on Thursday. Karachi Transport Ittehad also announced not to ply the buses on the roads.
Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan has ordered a judicial inquiry into the murder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement sector committee member Mansoor Mukhtar and his brother Masood Mukhtar and the ensuing violence in its aftermath.
After chairing a meeting with Home Secretary Sohail Akber Shah and Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Shah, Wasan gave orders for a judicial inquiry to be presided over by a district south sessions judge. The findings will be presented to the Sindh government but no deadline has been set.
In another attempt to tame the violence the home department re-imposed a ban on carrying weapons which was lifted on March 12.
The home department had earlier reasoned that it was lifting the ban so that citizens had a recourse to self defence as extortion and street crime had risen. But now, the ban has been brought back with the argument that the situation in the city has deteriorated.
Wasan offered his condolences to the MQM, saying that they are coalition partners in the government and they will guarantee that justice will prevail. “All stakeholders in Karachi, not just our partners in the government, including the ANP and smaller parties need to sit together to achieve peace in the city.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.