Seventeen-year-old Manoucheher Munawar Siddiqui, son of prominent businessman Munawar Siddiqui, escaped with his life after a pair of men opened fire at a cafe in Defence.
A young employee of Cafe Equinox was not as lucky and died in the shooting.
The details of the incident are hazy, considering that the police have no real witnesses coming forward and the cafe’s reputation itself —that of a sheesha-bar doubling as a romantic tryst point — is in question. People at the cafe, including the owner, administration and employees, fled shortly after the incident and the police found the establishment locked from the outside. People from the neighbouring shops were cagey about speaking and appeared nervous. A case has yet to be filed and the police are wary of how they approach the case as Siddiqui is an influential man.
The injured teenager has so far only told the police that he did not recognise the attackers. The few witnesses who the police could find, claimed that there were two men and one of them had long hair. They rode up to the cafe on a motorcycle, entered and released about three to four bullet rounds both inside and outside the cafe and fled within a few minutes.
Shopkeepers said they only heard the sound of three to four gunshots and saw people running from the cafe. The attackers also shot a few rounds outside. “Whatever happened, happened inside the cafe,” said another shopkeeper, “perhaps there was a fight inside.”
The cafe, located at the Bukhari Commercial area, is a popular spot for young well-heeled men to gather and smoke sheesha. The police are looking for the owner, believed to be Majid Patel, and people who were there at the time of the attack.
The cafe’s employee who was killed was identified as 22-year-old Gulfam from Azad Kashmir. He was shot in the head and his body was taken to Jinnah hospital along with Manoucheher, affectionately known as Mikki.
Gulfam’s body was not claimed at the time that this news story was filed. Manoucheher went home with his family after his two gunshot wounds, in the leg and the abdomen, were treated.
Police said both victims were shot from close range with a small pistol. They suspect that the attack was over a personal enmity and the injured boy was the target. “It is possible that the boy had a fight with one of his friends that led to the attack,” speculated SP Tariq Dharejo.
The injured boy’s father was busy taking his son home from hospital and thus could not give many details. “Nothing happened, everything is alright,” he told The Express Tribune, “he was shot twice and we are taking him home now. My son was going to tuitions.”
Manoucheher’s friends arrived at the hospital soon after. A young man who identified himself as Faizan and claimed to be from among the friends, said that Manoucheher had gone to smoke sheesha. He added that ‘Mikki’ was studying for his O’ levels at a private school in Darakhshan.
The injured boy seemed very relieved to be going home from the hospital and kept thanking the doctors.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.