KARACHI - TALHA MAKHDOOM/Agencies - Gunmen on motorcycles shot dead eight people including an eight-year-old girl at a faith healer’s house in Karachi’s Baldia Town on Sunday.
“Six gunmen on three motorcycles stormed into the house and started indiscriminate firing,” senior police official Irfan Baloch told AFP.
“At least eight people were killed and 12 others were wounded,” Baloch said, adding that the dead included an eight-year-old girl and her father.
Faith healer Pir Meharban Shah, who provides spiritual healing services, received a bullet wound to his abdomen and said he had not received any threats prior to the attack.
There was a power outage in the area when the attackers entered the house shortly after dark and started firing, he added.
Another police official, Javed Odho, said the gunmen first threw grenades at the house and then opened fire.
Medico-legal officer Dr Aftab Channar said that eight dead and 15 injured were brought to the hospital. He said the condition of at least three injured was critical.
Following the incident, police officials rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. District West SSP Irfan Bloch said that prayers were regularly held at the Aastana (house) and more numbers of the worshippers were present there as it was Sunday. He further said at least six to eight assailants attacked the Aastana and several empty shells of the 9mm pistols have been recovered so far from the crime scene. He said the area was notorious for the presence of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The bodies and injured were moved to Civil Hospital Karachi for medico-legal formalities. The deceased included Muhammad Moin, his five-year-old daughter Zainab, Dilber Gul Khan, Muhammad Essa and Nazir Younas, while the four deceased persons have yet to be identified. Saleem Ali, Tanvir Ahmed, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Abbas, Sajjad Ahmad, Munawwar Hussain, Yasir Saad, Abdul Jabbar, Syed Meharban Ali, Muhammad Khan, Tahir Bashir and a custodian of the Aastana were among the injured ones.
According to a private TV channel, Taliban have denied any link to the Aastana shooting.
It should be noted here that six men were found with their throats slit at a shrine in the outskirts of Karachi on January 7 accompanied by a note from militants. The bodies were found from a mud house adjacent to the Ayub Shah shrine in Gulshan-e-Maymar area with a note claiming to be from the Taliban.
Separately, a prayer leader namely Nadeem Qadri was shot dead in an act of target killing at Sector 11, Orangi Town within the premises of Iqbal Market police station. Police said that the deceased was on his way to home when at least two armed riders targeted him.
In the remits of Manghopir police, a man namely Muhammad Basharat was gunned down at Khairabad Goth, Orangi Town. Police said that unidentified armed men attacked Basharat and managed to escape from the scene. Police suspects that motive behind the incident is personal enmity; however further investigation was underway.
Kalakot police recovered a tortured body of a man from Mewa Shah Road. The body was shifted to morgue for identification after autopsy at Civil Hospital, Karachi.
Rangers are currently taking part in a joint operation with police in Karachi aimed at cleansing the city of terrorists and other hardcore criminals, including hired killers, gun runners and drug peddlers.