Targeted: Retired Navy officer killed in mosque attack

One of the three assailants was captured by citizens and handed over to the police.


Our Correspondent February 24, 2014
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: A retired chief petty officer of the Pakistan Navy was shot dead while he was offering prayers in Orangi Town on Sunday.

The incident occurred during Zuhr prayers at the Khyber Masjib near Banaras Flyover, within the limits of Pirabad Police Station. The retired chief petty officer, Ali Yar Khan, son of Shah Rafiq Khan, was reportedly the assailants’ prime target in the attack which wounded three others. The injured included a 10-year-old boy who was also praying when the attack occurred.

“As we prostrated for ‘sujood’, the assailants opened fire at us from behind,” said the victim’s son, Ahsan. “The courtyard of the mosque turned into a pool of blood as the bullets hit the victims.”

The deceased, originally hailing from Swat, had been residing in Qasba Colony, Orangi Town, and was associated with a private company in Defence since his retirement from the Navy. He was shot multiple times and died on the spot. The three injured were identified as Ahmed Ishaq, 10, Ataullah Khan, 45, and Shahid Yaqoob, 30. They were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment.

According to witnesses, at least three armed assailants entered the mosque premises and opened fire at the victims before attempting to flee. Before they could escape, however, the other worshippers intervened and attempted to catch them.

“Two of them managed to escape on their motorcycle while the third assailant was left behind,” one of the witnesses, Kashif Naeem, told The Express Tribune. “From Banaras, he ran towards Aligarh Society and we finally managed to catch him at Orangi Town No. 6, after chasing him for at least two kilometres.” Naeem claimed that the accused also opened fire at the pursuers while attempting to flee but they continued to chase him. When they finally caught up with him, the mob beat him before handing him over to the police.

This was not the first incident to have occurred in the city, particularly in Orangi Town, in which assailants have targeted and killed serving and retired personnel of the armed forces. On February 8, Asghar, 32, son of Ajab Khan, who had been serving as a technician at the Pakistan Air Force base in Peshawar, was shot dead in an act of target killing in Orangi Town. He had come to Karachi to take his family with him to Peshawar.

Separately, Imran Ali, a soldier of the Pakistan Army who was posted to the Sindh regiment, had come to Karachi from Hyderabad to visit his family in Frontier Colony when he was killed in a targeted attack in Orangi Town in March last year.

The criminals involved in the previous acts of targeted killings have yet to be arrested. This time, however, police have managed to arrest one of the accused with the help of the people and have also seized a 9mm pistol used to carry out the attack from his possession. The suspect was later identified as Wahid Dad, son of Fazal Dad, of Afghan origin. Police investigators say that the accused was associated with a banned religious outfit and was also a member of the target killing squad of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. “This target killer will definitely give us many important clues regarding other cases as well,” said the Orangi Division SP Malik Mohammad Ehsan while talking to The Express Tribune. No case was registered till the filing of this report.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2014.

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