The owner of Karachi’s famed Meerut Kabab House in Gulshan-e-Iqbal was shot dead in cold blood on Monday night.
At least two men on a motorcycle stopped outside the restaurant at around 10 pm. They fired multiple shots at 35-year-old Muhammad Ali, the cooks and waiters, leaving two dead and three injured.
“They killed him in their own sweet time. The killers did not hurry. They picked a target, fired the shots and then moved onto the victim,” said a resident.
The shops in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s 13D area were hurriedly closed. People amassed at the restaurant, stopping to take pictures of the haphazardly closed kebab house.
Ali was shot five times. He died as he was being rushed to hospital. “Everyone is upset around here,” said a taxi driver. “The man was friends with everyone.”
At his funeral, in Lalukhet’s Hasan Colony, outside his home, in a narrow street, charged young men blocked traffic.
They pushed back reporters, refusing any media coverage. A young man in jeans folded above the ankles, spray-painted profane graffiti against a particular sect.
“Ali was from Deoband school of thought,” said DSP Pervez Iqbal. “We suspect a sectarian motive behind the killing. The family had disputes with people belonging to another sect over a religious place.”
On February 17, Ali’s brother Akbar Ilyas was shot dead in similar circumstances, said DSP Iqbal. The case is being investigated.
The family runs the chain of Meerut kebab restaurants across the city. Deeply religious, they fund a few mosques as well, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Thirty-five-year-old Muhammad Ali was loved by taxi and rickshaw drivers who gathered outside his establishment. He would never shout at them to move their vehicles.
People remember him as a charming person. He was someone who always kept his temper under control, someone who would smile all the time. Others recalled how he was always hurrying to the mosque for prayers and made it a point to shake hands with everyone.
“For years I have been living in a small apartment which Ali owned,” said a police constable, who wished not to be named. “He never asked me to pay rent. His generosity was unmatched by anyone I know.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.