A week after a Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) office came under attack in the New Karachi area of the city, a leader of the MQM-P’s rival Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), who was also a member of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was gunned down in District Central on Monday night.
The incident took place near Sarena mobile market in North Nazimabad within the limits of the Taimuria police station. Assailants on a motorcycle targeted Adeel Habib Khilji, son of Abdul Hameed Khan Khilji, who was passing there in his Parado.
Adeel was shot multiple times and died on the spot. His body was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where, besides family members, a large number of PSP workers and leaders gathered and shouted slogans against the killing.
Following the incident, a contingent of law enforcers reached the site to investigate the killing. Police officials said the attackers used two weapons in their swift operation. They added that the police had seized nine empty shells from the site of the crime, seven of which were of a 9mm pistol and two of a .30bore TT pistol. The victim lived in Metroville in the SITE area and was a businessman associated with plastics business. He was also affiliated with the PSP, serving as a member of the party’s National Council. He had also contested the 2018 general elections from PS-122 Manghopir.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and sought a report from the additional IG Karachi. He also ordered the arrest of the culprits. Sindh Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam also sought a report on the incident from the District Central SSP. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi chapter chief Khurrum Sher Zaman condemned the PSP leader’s killing and demanded the arrests of the killers.
Series of incidents
Karachi has witnessed a surge in political violence during the past few months, which appears to be a series of tit-for-tat incidents mainly involving two political parties, the MQM-P and PSP.
The police have also by and large failed in solving the cases of attacks on political parties’ leaders, workers and offices as against around half a dozen major cases of violence against political parties, the investigators could arrest only a single suspect in one of the cases.
Apart from the MQM-P and PSP, the PTI has also been targeted in the city as two of its workers were recently shot dead while one leader escaped a targeted attack in the city. The political parties, however, have not blamed each other for the violence. They suspect that a third party could be behind the series of such incidents, which intended to stoke political tension in the city.
Speaking to The News, PSP leader Asia Ishaq said elements who did not want to see peace in the city were behind the incident. “Our seven men have so far been killed,” she said, adding that an organised effort was going on to create political chaos and lawlessness in the city.
Khawaja Izharul Hassan of the MQM-P has also hinted at the involvement of some third party in the series of violent incidents against political parties.
The first such incident in recent months was the explosion on December 9, 2018 at a Milad organised by the MQM-P in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 18. Six persons were injured in the incident after unidentified suspects riding a motorcycle had hurled a grenade near the Milad venue and fled. The explosion was followed by the armed attack on December 23, 2018 on the PSP town office in Usmania Colony in the Rizvia Society area. A dozen armed men on six motorcycles attacked the office, leaving two PSP workers, Azhar Rehmat, 35, and Naeem Ramzan, 40, dead and as many injured.
Two days after the attack in Rizvia Society, former leader of the MQM-P Syed Ali Raza Abidi was shot dead outside his residence on Khayaban-e-Ghazi in the Defence neighbourhood. On February 11, a worker of the MQM-P was killed and another injured after unidentified men attacked a union council office of the MQM-P in New Karachi. At least six armed men riding three motorcycles participated in the attack and fired at the office with sub-machineguns and 9mm pistols.