The death toll from target killings in Karachi rose to 21 on Wednesday while 25 people were injured in various incidents of violence in the metropolitan city.
Five more bullet ridden bodies were found dumped in a mini bus in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area.
One body was recovered from Khadda market which also had bullet wounds.
The bodies have not yet been identified.
Yesterday, 11 people were gunned down in Orangi while one in Shershah, and two in the Baldia and Korangi areas of Karachi.
Orangi has been the worst hit area by violence where eight people were shot dead near Qasba Morr and over a dozen were injured.
Unidentifed men opened fire at a passenger bus in the same area which resulted in death of three people and injuring six others.
Qasba colony is still tense as firing still continues.
Another person was killed in a clash between two groups in Shershah Scrape market while six others were injured.
Two beheaded bodies were found from Baldia and Korangi areas.
Updated from print edition (below)
From Hassan Square to Orangi, the bodies pile up
The city’s hottest flashpoint, Orangi Town, flared up again on Tuesday — 10 people were shot dead and nearly 24 others were wounded.
The chief of police said that double-sawari or pillion riding would be banned. The killings are in part perpetrated in drive-by shootings.
Firing broke out shortly after men opened fire at the Awami National Party’s (ANP) Rahim Khan Swati in Qasba Colony. A spokesperson said that Swati was shot at least five times and was taken to a private hospital. Doctors say he is stable.
Orangi residents claim that dozens of armed men took up positions at the hilltops in the surrounding areas and began shooting at everyone in sight. “It’s better for us to sleep on the streets than be killed by these animals,” said a resident. “There are fewer target killings here [Orangi] and more indiscriminate firing that leaves innocent people dead.”
The indiscriminate firing left over a dozen people wounded and four of them succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital. The rest were taken to Qatar, Abbasi Shaheed and Jinnah and Civil hospitals.
A little later, a man identified as Javed was killed in Qasba Colony No. 1.5 within the limits of the Pirabad police. An attack on a bus of route No. 60 in the same area left Gul Khan and an unidentified man dead and Tanvir, Hakim and Ismail injured.
Hina Bakery at Qalandria Chowk, Orangi Town, was also targeted, an unidentified man was shot dead and at least two others were injured. Zulfiqar Pirzada, a private television channel reporter was also shot and injured and was taken to Qatar Hospital.
Roads linking Orangi Town such as Katti Pahari, Banaras and Qasba Colony were blocked by men as were other entry and exit routes.
Orangi SP Khurram Waris told The Express Tribune that six people were killed and about 10 were injured. He claimed to have apprehended two suspects each from the ANP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and said more arrests were under way.
“It’s nothing. There is nothing to worry about,” he said complacently when he was asked about the situation. “It’s just an [ethno-linguistic] scuffle and the people who died are also [from the two ethno-linguistic groups]. A few are affiliated with political parties.”
Qasba Colony was where the violence broke out and was affected the most, he said.
He refused assistance from other town police, claiming that the Orangi Town police force could tackle it. There were reports that some houses were also set on fire but the SP denied it.
ANP Sindh spokesperson Qadir Khan told The Express Tribune that he condemned the killing of his party’s workers and demanded the government take action against the people attacking Pashto-speaking people. He said that according to initial reports, four ANP activists have been killed and at least six were injured. He said that more killings were expected and the details were being gathered. “They are picking our men off one by one,” he said. “They got on to bus No. 60 and shot people.”
According to a statement, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain also strongly condemned the Orangi violence. The statement said that the citizens of Karachi were being punished as the MQM had left the government and joined the ranks of the opposition in Sindh.
MQM leader Qamar Mansoor said that the violence had suddenly began in Hassan Square and then in Orangi Town.
Earlier, in Hassan Square, at least three people were injured when unidentified men resorted to intense firing and rioted on the road on Tuesday afternoon. The crowd burnt tyres and old furniture and blocked the Hassan Square bridge precipitating a massive traffic jam.
Separately, in Shershah, Lalu, 22, was killed and nearly half a dozen others, were injured when they were returning after burying a young man named Shakir Baloch, a shopkeeper from the market, who was found dead in Saeedabad on Monday. Police said that apparently Lyari’s gangsters had opened fire near the Shershah Pankha Hotel.
Selective pillion riding ban imposed in Karachi
Meanwhile, Sindh home department had imposed ban on pillion riding in a city for unidentified period from Wednesday. Sources said that the home department issued the notification following a request by the Capital City Police Officer, Karachi Saud Mirza to impose ban on pillion riding.
There is an old saying among crime reporters in Karachi. When the summer months roll around, the body count rises with the mercury. It’s something to do with tempers. And indeed, for yet another year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) proved this point with statistics. “June was the most dangerous month in Karachi,” said its chairperson, Zohra Yusuf, at their regular briefing to the media on Tuesday.
At least 32 people died in just three days as a result of the brawl between the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), said Yusuf.
“The problem lies with law and order and the fact that public opinion often overpowers court decisions,” she explained.
Of the 1,138 people who died this year, 490 were targeted. The MQM sustained the highest casualties: 77 activists. The ANP comes in at a distant second with 29 dead and the Pakistan Peoples Party lost 26 men.
Among those targeted and killed, 250 were not affiliated with political parties, 184 were political activists and 19 were members of religious parties. Fifty-six of the killings were based on ethnicity.
“Lyari has been handed over to gangs who fight over turf and power and who also hold political patronage,” she said. “The Rangers have been sent in for clean-up operations but have not been effective. Interior Minister Rehman Malik says that the situation will be controlled very soon but nothing has changed.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2011.