Target killing: No headway in murder of 12th doctor this year

Dr Abid Hussain was killed on July 21 outside his clinic.

Salman Siddiqui August 08, 2011


It has been over two weeks since Dr Abid Hussain was murdered at his clinic in Surjani Town’s Sector 36/E but the police have made zero progress in the case.

In fact, one sub inspector, Mufazil Rafique, who was given the responsibility of cracking the case, says that since the July 21 murder, numerous other people have been killed in Surjani Town in a vicious cycle of violence. “What should we do?” he said.

Abid was murdered in the evening just moments after he had opened the padlocks of his small shop-like clinic. Two men, reportedly on motorcycles, pumped bullets into his chest and fled.

SI Rafique was irked when pressed about a possible motive and suspects. “I wasn’t Abid’s neighbour so I don’t know if this is a killing by a group targeting doctors or something which happened due to a personal enmity,” he retorted.

Although SHO Surjani Raja Tanveer didn’t say exactly what, if anything at all, they were doing to investigate the case, he gave a stock answer that the police were looking into Abid’s killing.

There could be multiple reasons for someone to target the 40-year-old Hussain. He was not only a doctor, but also a member of the Ahle Tasheeh sect. And according to a spokesperson at Muttahida Qaumi Movement headquarters, Nine Zero, the doctor was also a party activist and a central member of the Muttahida Organising Committee. Police say Abid was a unit in-charge for the party.

MQM leader Faisal Subzwari said innocent workers of his party were being targeted in the city. Although he didn’t answer directly about who he thought were possible suspects in Abid’s case, he said it was a fact that the MQM was on the hit-list of jihadi groups.

Strangely, however, the Pakistan Medical Association, which historically has been most vocal about the killing of doctors in the past, has so far been silent in Abid’s case. PMA Karachi president Dr Idrees Adhi denied that the association was keeping mum because of Abid’s political affiliation. “The PMA condemns the murder of every doctor in the city no matter what their affiliations are,” he said, adding that he was just not aware of Abid’s case.

According to the PMA, at least 11 doctors have been shot dead in the city between August 2010 and June 2011. In recent times, the worst period for doctors in the city was between 2002 and 2003 when more than 85 of them were killed.

PMA Sindh president Dr Samrina Hashmi says that the brain drain of doctors to countries abroad continues and more people will leave if such killings persist. She pointed out that apart from murders, doctors are also being kidnapped. For example, Dr Majeed Memon was kidnapped from Shahdadpur recently. Also, Dr Wasdev disappeared on his way back home from Thatta. Citizens-Police Liason Committee chief Ahmed Chinoy acknowledged the two cases that took place in rural Sindh. However, he clarified that “no doctor is being kidnapped for ransom in Karachi.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.