KARACHI: Families continued to be devastated in ethnic violence in Karachi on Friday after 18 men were shot dead and 10 others were left nursing their wounds in hospital.
Among those killed were 11 Pakhtuns, four Urdu-speaking people, and one Punjabi, Kutchi and Baloch person each.
However, leaders of both the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party, when approached, denied that the victims were affiliated with their parties. They said that none of their party’s activists were killed or wounded in the ongoing violence that peaked on Thursday night.
Orangi Town seemed to be one of the targets as trigger-happy snipers went on a killing spree, leaving nine people dead in what is being seen as violence among Pakhtuns and Mohajirs. Eight others were gunned down in Ramswamy, Sohrab Goth, Memon Goth, Jamshed Quarters, Shara-e-Noor Jahan, Khokhrapar, Jauharabad, New Karachi and Frere.
SSP Orangi Fareed Jan Sarhandi blamed both the MQM and ANP for the bloodshed and said that the police was doing whatever possible under the circumstances. “But the law and order situation has now spiralled out of control and it is for the bigwigs of these two parties who will do something to ease the situation,” he said. “Innocent people are being killed and only the ANP and MQM can bring an end to this violence.”
The first incident was reported between Thursday and Friday night when a young man identified as Shoaib Sohail was gunned down in Ramswamy. He was associated with MQM’s Unit 27 and was shot by two armed men on a motorcycle near his residence.
Within six hours, the bodies of two young men, who were also said to be MQM sympathisers, identified as Mukhtar Alam and Yaqoob Ata Mohammad, were found from Orangi Town within the limits of Iqbal Market police station. Police said that both of them were kidnapped and killed.
Their deaths triggered violence in the city, especially in Orangi Town and its surrounding areas after Friday prayers when armed men resorted to indiscriminate firing and targeting people belonging to the rival group. As a result, initially, two Pakhtun, Nawab Khan and Kamran, were killed and another identified as Salman was wounded in Qazzafi Chowk of Orangi Town.
Another Pakhtun, Abdul Hamid, was shot in Orangi’s Aligarh Colony. Two more Pakhtuns, Mairaj, 20, and Imtiaz Qadir, 19, were killed and Fayyaz Khan, was injured when men fired at people standing at a bus stop in Haryana Colony of Orangi Town.
Shortly after this incident, a 38-year-old truck driver Wazir Khan was killed and two brothers, Rafiq and Fazlur Rehman, were wounded when armed men sprayed with bullets their truck and loading Suzuki on Shah Waliullah Road in Orangi Town. Wajid Khan met a similar fate in Orangi Town.
Another Pakhtun, identified as 24-year-old Abdul Rehman was found dead within the limits of Memon Goth police station. Three more Pakhtuns, Musarat Ali Khan, Gul Sher Khan and Rafiq Khan, were gunned down in Frere, Jauharabad and Shara-e-Noor Jahan police remits, respectively.
A Baloch-speaking rickshaw driver, Abdul Ghaffar Baloch, a resident of Orangi Town, was killed in Jamshed Quarters and a Punjabi-speaking Babar Buksh was shot dead in Sohrab Goth.
A worker of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz was gunned down D-1 area, said the Khokhrapar police. He was identified as Tariq Kutchi, the son of Yaqoob Kutchi.
Another Urdu-speaking man, identified as Badaruddin, was gunned down in New Karachi.
Tension prevailed in Pakhtun and Mohajir localities, especially in Orangi Town, Shara-e-Noor Jahan, Kati Pahari, Banaras, Metroville, SITE, Baldia Town, Sohrab Goth, Abul Hassan Ispahani road and Quaidabad where a heavy contingent of law enforcers was deputed.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.