No respite: Three men killed in shrine attack

Five others dead in separate acts of target killing.


Faraz Khan August 23, 2014

KARACHI:


At least three people were killed on Saturday afternoon when armed motorcyclists opened fire at a shrine in District East. Meanwhile, two supporters of a religious organisation were shot dead in Shah Faisal Colony.


Three people were shot dead when armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire at the Dargah Nazar Shah, located near Nasir Jump in Korangi, within the limits of Zaman Town police station. “The two assailants initially came to the shrine and left after shaking hands with the caretaker,” recalled the lone eyewitness of the incident. “About two minutes later, they entered the shrine again and opened fire.” The assailants fled the scene immediately after committing the crime.

As a result of the firing, two victims were killed on the spot, while a third succumbed to his injuries during treatment at Civil Hospital, Karachi. One of the deceased was later identified as 45-year-old Zakir Hussain, son of Yaqoob. The other two victims were identified as Nawaz and Younus.

Previous attacks

This was not the first attack on a shrine in Karachi. In February 2014, at least eight people were killed and over a dozen wounded when assailants attacked a shrine in Baldia Town. At least 40 people, belonging to various ethnicities, had been present at the Astana of Baba Pir Mehrban Shah at the time of the attack. Though the police had suspected the involvement of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid had declined his group’s involvement in the attack.

On January 7 this year, the decapitated bodies of six men were found from a mud house adjacent to the Ayub Shah shrine in Gulshan-e-Maymar. The police, in this case, claim to have arrested members of a banned outfit who were responsible for the killings. Separately, at least eight people had lost their lives and over 60 injured when two suicide bombers had attacked the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi in October 2010.

Investigations

The shrine that was attacked on Saturday had been running since the last 20 years. Following the incident, a large contingent of law enforcers reached the site. The police found at least 23 empty shells of pistols. In this case too, the police suspect the involvement of militants. “It is premature to say anything but it seems like a continuity of the attacks on shrines in Karachi,” Korangi division SSP Nazeer Ahmed told The Express Tribune. No case has been registered yet.

Shortly after this incident, two men were shot dead in Saadat Colony within the limits of Shah Faisal Colony police station. The deceased were identified as 37-year-old Asif, son of Shakeel and his maternal uncle, 50-year-old Abdul Shakoor.

Police officials said that the victims were residents of the same area and used to run a motorcycle mechanic shop. SP Ali Asif said that the two assailants had come to the shop and after paying them for repairing their motorcycle, they shot the victims. They were shot multiple times and died on the spot. Their bodies were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for autopsy. The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) spokesperson, while claiming their affiliation with the party, said that they were killed over sectarian basis.

Separately, three people were shot dead and another wounded by gunfire in Sohrab Goth. The deceased were identified as Hameedullah, Abdul Hadi and Muhammad Ahmed. DSP Qamar Ahmed said that the victims were of Afghan origin and were involved in a dispute with the Mullah Samad group. The DSP added that Mullah Samad’s men could be behind the incident.

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

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