Karachi : Religious scholar among 7 killed in city • 5 vehicles torched

KARACHI, Dec 3: The early morning killing of a seminary teacher triggered violence in parts of Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Monday, when six other persons — two policemen, a Karachi Metropolitan Corporation officer and his young nephew and two young friends — were also shot dead.

At least five vehicles were torched and many others damaged in random arson and armed attacks in different parts of the city, bringing life in various localities to a standstill.

The hours-long violence on Rashid Minhas Road, University Road and adjoining arteries made law-enforcement personnel disappear from the strife-hit zone. The police backed by the Rangers reappeared after more than two hours, when much damage had been done.

“A little after 8am, when gunmen on a motorbike intercepted Maulana Mufti Muhammad Ismail near Jamia Majid Umar Farooq, off Abul Hasan Ispahani Road, when he was driving to Madrassah Ahsan-ul-Uloom,” said Inspector Azhar Iqbal, the SHO of the Sachal police station.

“He routinely dropped his children at a seminary in Scheme 33 and drove to work when targeted by armed riders. Hit in the head, chest and face, he died on the spot. The police found five casings of spent 9mm bullets at the scene. The body was later moved to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.”

Within an hour of his killing, charged youths carrying sticks and bricks took to the main Rashid Minhas Road and blocked traffic on the road and later also on University Road.

Within the next half hour five vehicles, including an ambulance of a charity, were set on fire on Rashid Minhas Road, University Road and Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road.

Bricks, sewerage pipes and other heavy objects were placed on all main exit and entry points of Gulshan-i-Iqbal town — that houses several commercial facilities and educational institutions. The traffic mess stretched to Hasan Square and Water Pump.

Miscreants damaged with sticks several vehicles lining up at CNG stations on Rashid Minhas Road and University Road. The intensity of the violence turned low only after the body of Mufti Ismail was moved to Madrassah Ahsan-ul-Uloom, where his funeral prayers were offered after Zuhar.

A number of shops were attacked on Rashid Minhas Road, Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road and University Road where traffic signals were also smashed. With violence moving from one block to another, parts of Gulshan-i-Iqbal and areas neighbouring Abul Hasan Ispahani Road reverberated with gunfire, causing immediate closure of shops and markets and compelling residents to stay indoors.

Associated with Madrassah Ahsan-ul-Uloom for the past 15 years as a senior faculty member, Mufti Ismail completed his education at the same seminary before moving to Al-Madinah International University for higher education.

Father of four, the slain cleric originally hailed from Pishin. Only last month, seven students of the same seminary were killed in an armed attack on a roadside teashop in Gulshan-i-Iqbal block 2.

Sindh IG Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari sought a report from the Karachi police chief on the killing of Mufti Ismail.

“The report should pertain to the overall security steps in the concerned zone and on the initial findings on a forensic basis,” said a statement issued by the central police office. “The IG directed that there should be a joint patrolling of police and Rangers in sensitive areas of the city. He also called for picketing and snap checks and keeping an eye on miscreants. The IG directed that the security of Madaris, mosques and Imambargahs be beefed up.”

Meanwhile, in separate armed attacks a police inspector, a special branch constable and a KMC officer and his young nephew were killed, and two bullet-riddled bodies stuffed in gunny bags were found.

In Orangi Town, Sector 11½, 42-year-old Mahmood Alam and his 26-year-old nephew Jaseem Siddiqui were killed in an ambush. The police said that Mr Alam, the KMC’s district officer who looked after the city’s graveyard affairs, was attacked when he was driving his official hi-roof vehicle (GS-9940) with his nephew.

“Both victims were residents of the same sector,” said Inspector Muhammad Sabir, the SHO of the Iqbal Market police station. “They were attacked near Sabri Chowk, a busy area. Witnesses said that armed men after attacking the two in the van fired multiple shots into the air to scare people around and sped away.”

A police officer in Korangi met the same fate when he was driving to the police post where he was recently posted as its ‘in-charge’. Police said two masked men on a motorbike targeted 49-year-old Sub-Inspector Hidayatullah when he slowed down his car near Street 3 of Bilal Colony.

“He was hit by five bullets and died on the spot,” said an official at the Korangi Industrial Area police station. “He was recently posted as officer-in-charge of the ‘R’ police post within the remit of the Korangi Industrial Area police station after being transferred from the Qayyumabad police post.”

The victim had been serving in the same Korangi town for the past 10 years at different police stations and in different capacities. Hailing from Shikarpur, he was actively involved in recent arrests of some suspected killers and criminals in Korangi.

“The police meanwhile registered an FIR (1044/2012) under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against unknown suspects on a complaint of the victim’s elder son,” added the official.

Earlier, bodies of two young friends were found stuffed in gunny bags in the Sohrab Goth area. The victims were later identified as Tayyab Chaudhry and Mahmood-ul-Hasan — both in their mid-20s — who were hit by six and eight bullets, respectively, fired from a very close range, the police said.

“Both were residents of Rajput Colony in Gulshan-i-Iqbal,” said Inspector Azhar Iqbal, the SHO of the Sachal police station. “There bodies were found at a truck stand near a storm drain passing under the Lyari Expressway bridge near the Sohrab Goth intersection. They had left home on Sunday afternoon to see some friends, but did not return.”

Targeted attacks continued after sunset as armed men in Orangi Town shot dead a special branch constable when he was waiting for a friend outside his home.

“Armed men entered one of the narrow streets of Frontier Colony and stopped close to Murad Khan,” said an official at the Pirabad police station. “Before he could comprehend the situation, one of the riders got off the motorbike, pulled out a .30-bore pistol and fired a single shot in his head from a very close range before running away with his accomplice.”

The victim was associated with the Sindh police’s special branch and posted at the Pirabad police station. Originally hailing from Peshawar, he lived in Orangi Town Sector 10 and was father of eight.

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