The ANP’s welcome rally for its newly-elected senator Shahi Syed was marred by violence as at least seven people, including a bystander woman, were injured when unidentified assailants opened fire on the crowd near Malir-15.
Sixty-five-year-old Taj Bibi, Wali Khan, 75, Gul Akber, 60, and his 10-year-old grandson Shah Gul and three political activists — Sharif, Saleem and Qadir — suffered bullet wounds. The Mohajir Qaumi Movement - Haqiqi (MQM-H) also participated in the rally and it could not be verified which party the activists belonged to. However, the police did confirm that Taj Bibi, Wali Khan, Gul Akber and Shah Gul were passers-by.
The injured were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and were stated to be in a critical condition till the filing of this report. Deputy Inspector General (DIG), East, Tahir Naveed told The News that the rally could have been attacked by a rival group. He added that there was a massive traffic jam on Sharea Faisal at the time of the incident and the police were investigating the matter.
The rally caused the city witness terrible traffic conditions as several major arteries were gridlocked. The worst congestion was at Sharea Faisal as buses, trucks and passenger coaches carrying ANP supporters crammed the track leading to the airport. To the utter dismay of commuters, the ANP rally suddenly spilled over at 5:00pm to the other track of the main road leading from the airport to Saddar. The traffic jam persisted on Sharea Faisal till the late evening hours.
Traffic jams spread to other parts of the city, including Rashid Minhas Road, National Highway, Jinnah Avenue, New MA Jinnah Road, Tariq Road, SITE Town, Sultanabad, Sohrab Goth, Landhi, Malir, and Model Colony.
Traffic police personnel and city wardens were of no help either and commuters were left with no other option but to remain stuck for hours. The rally was organised to welcome ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed who had just been elected as a member of Senate. He is also the head of the Pakhtun Action Committee.