President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the targeted killings in Karachi and directed the Interior Ministry on Thursday to report to him within 24 hours on why this was happening.
The police and Rangers are due to brief the president at Chief Minister House today, Friday.
At least 19 deaths have been reported in just three days, excluding two men who died in the Lyari gang war. Four people lost their lives on Thursday. One of them was gunned down in Orangi Town, another in Surjani Town and two more in Lyari.
The chief of police Waseem Ahmed urged caution in calling each case a target killing. “As of now, I don’t have exact figures of the killings in the city but I can tell you with authority that there was not a single incident of target killing in the city today,” he told The Express Tribune late Thursday night.
According to the Edhi Foundation, from July 1 to 21, targeted killings and shootings have left 55 people dead and 43 others injured. The numbers were collected by the ambulance service that transported the victims to various government hospitals.
Online reported that Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza has summoned case-to-case details of all crimes from the chief of police.
The paramilitary Rangers and the police have been on high alert but no one has been able to control the violence. Men on motorcycles drive by and shoot their victims and take off before anyone can stop them.
The Sindh government recently extended the contract for the Rangers by another year and granted them three more months of special powers to search, raid and arrest people. A fact-finding commission that was set up last month to investigate the killings has not borne any fruit.
Not every killing is a target killing, said the chief of police. “I have categorically said publicly that target killings are only ethnic or sectarian. Routine murders cannot be treated as targeted killings,” said Ahmed. “The media portrays false figures and I have requested them to confirm before reporting. This term target killing has become a buzzword or fashionable for the media to report.”
By Thursday night, at least six more people were reported killed in various incidents. The bullet-riddled bodies of Abdul Rasheed, 25, and Shabbir, 22, could be target killings, said the police, cautioning that the investigation was incomplete.
In Orangi Town’s Pakistan Bazaar, Asghar, 40, was found dead near German school. According to the police Asghar alias Fauji was an employee at the water board and an MQM worker. Police said four men on motorcycles intercepted and shot him.
In Surjani, Farhan, 30, was found dead. He worked as a driver for an Abbasi Shaheed Hospital doctor.
In Malir, the body of MQM-Haqiqi worker Fazal was found near Saudabad College. According to the police, he was a resident of Khokhrapar.
A man believed to be involved in target killings was held by the Mehmoodabad police Wednesday evening. According to sources, 20-something Majid Kashmiri is allegedly involved in a drug den known as Shauk Ada. “We raided the den and arrested Kashmiri for his alleged involvement in drugs, possession of illegal arms and four murder cases,” said SHO Ghulam Nabi Afridi.
“He had affiliations with the Awami National Party but was operating on his own,” said the SHO. “These gangsters always seek the support and backing of political parties but when their activities are disclosed, the party disassociates.”
According to Afridi, two groups, one led by Shauk and the other by a man named Aziz Lasi were involved in Chanesar Goth clashes in the past. After Aziz Lasi was murdered, allegedly by the Shauk group, Kahsmiri became more active. The Lasi brothers Aziz and Yusuf were killed in gun battles last month.
“The Lyari gang war’s Qadir, who is in prison was also a member of the Kashmiri group,” said Afridi, adding that the police suspected his involvement in the killing of Inspector Asghar Niazi.
ANP Sindh VP Abdul Bari Kakar refuted the Mehmoodabad police allegations of Kashmiri’s alleged involvement in target killings or drug dealings. While talking to The Express Tribune, Kakar said that Kashmiri had a good reputation in his area and worked for social welfare.
He was married with three children and had strongly resisted gangsters in Chanesar Goth. According to Kakar, who is the Chanesar Goth ward president, all of this was a plot by criminals in the area to implicate and get rid of Kashmiri.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.
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