As the situation in Orangi Town and its surrounding areas was beginning to settle down, a man identified as Ashiq was shot at and injured in Qasba Colony on Friday. He passed away later in the evening.
The police claim that he was affiliated with the Awami National Party’s Bukhari Colony ward, was wanted in three murder cases and had been arrested before.
The incident took place when he was on his motorcycle and two men opened fire at him. They managed to shoot at him three times before setting his motorcycle on fire. He was injured and taken to a hospital, some television channels were running a ticker which claimed that he had died. The news of his death sparked another round of violence and caused ANP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement activists to step outside and engage in a shoot-out.
Gunshots could be heard all over Orangi, especially Pakistan Bazaar. As the activists from both parties battled on, Noor Wali from the ANP and Irfan from the MQM were reported to be injured. A heavy contingent of Rangers and the police were sent to improve the law and order situation. They carried out a search operation and took around a dozen suspects to an undisclosed location for questioning.
The arrests spread frenzy in the neighbourhood and women took to the streets in protest. They chanted slogans against the authorities and demanded that their family members should be set free.
As the Rangers and police got the situation under control, unidentified suspects gunned down an ANP worker identified as 45-year-old Hidayatullah Mehsud in Kunwari Colony at 6pm, said the Pirabad police. They claim that Mehsud was at a barbershop when he was attacked by another Pashtun. They believe that Mehsud was killed over a personal enmity. Mehsud was a member of the ANP Sindh council and was the former general secretary of the Pakhtoon Student Federation at Jinnah College. Later in the evening, 32-year-old Khanzada Gul was also shot dead in Bilal Colony. The police claim that he had killed a cousin in Mardan and his brother, Iqbal, killed Gul to avenge his brother’s death.
The head constable of the Crime Branch, 34-year-old Imran Baloch was also gunned down on Friday near Nishtar Road, said the Soldier Bazaar police. They claim that Baloch had recently moved to Safoora Goth and had come to see his old house on his day off when he was shot dead. He was also SSP Farooq Awan’s gunman. Awan said that Baloch was sitting outside his old house when suspects shot at him with a 9mm pistol. They found seven to eight bullet shells near his body. The SSP added that Baloch was killed over a personal enmity.
The Rangers spokesperson said that 14 suspects were apprehended in raids carried out in Manzoor Colony, Chanesar Goth, Jamshed Town and Landhi Town. They seized 16 weapons, including Kalashnikovs, sub-machine guns and pistols. The spokesperson did not confirm the political affiliations of the suspects. A source in Rangers said that six men from the Sunni Tehreek were arrested in a raid at the party’s offices in Lines Area but the party’s spokesperson Fahim Qadri said that only two men were arrested. The ANP said that they were being targeted and the government was not helping them or providing them with security.
In a meeting with Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Rangers DG Major Gen. Rizwan Akhtar said that it was because of the Rangers that there was a peaceful atmosphere in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2012.
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