KARACHI -The authorities Saturday extended emergency powers of the rangers for another three months and imposed a ban on pillion-riding to curb violence in Karachi, where another 14 people lost their lives in the bloodshed, mostly sectarian.
Sectarian violence gripped the port city of country on Saturday when three Shias were killed in an attack on a bus carrying participants of Youme Quds rally. Following the attack, enraged Shias staged protest at Nomish Chowrangi.
Apparently, retaliatory attacks by unidentified gunmen then killed people from rival Deoband school of thought in district central area. These sectarian killings coupled with ethnic target killing spread tension across the city, resulting in the closure of many markets.
Sindh Home Department issued a notification on Saturday extending emergency powers of the rangers for three months in view of the deteriorating situation. Under these special powers, rangers can carry out operations in any areas and make arrests. Originally, they were given these powers in 2011 at the time of their deployment in the city.
The home department also imposed ban on pillion-ridding to control the security situation in the metropolis. A notification issued on Saturday said the ban would be enforced with immediate effect but women, children, senior citizens and personnel of law enforcement agencies will be exempted.
IGP Sindh Fayyaz Leghari has also cancelled leaves of police personnel. All of them have been directed to report at their respective offices immediately. IGP further directed senior officers not to approve any leave keeping in view of the current situation. He sought immediate report on the sectarian killings from Karachi additional IG Iqbal Mehmood.
The first attack on Deabandis took place at the Taqwa Masjid, located in Block 17, Shahrah-e-Pakistan of Gulberg area in Samanabad Police jurisdiction where two members of the Masjid committee, namely Qari Asif and Qari Shakirullah were shot down.
Shortly after this incident, three more people belonging to deoband sect were gunned down in Sector 5 C-4 in North Karachi, in Khawaja Ajmair Nagri Police precincts, while they were sitting outside their home. The victims included a seminary teacher, Maulana Muhammad Yahya, seminary student Faizan Ilyas, 27, and their friend Mujahid Aleem, 26. The victims were associated with the Masjid-o-Madrassa Yasinul Quran. Another man belonging to the deoband school of thought and identified as Qari Ahsan, 30, was also gunned down in Gulberg area in the limits of Samanabad Police.
Also in North Karachi area near Disco Mor, unidentified culprits targeted killed five friends and injured another. The deceased were identified as Atif Ali, 25, Shaukat, 30, Noor Rasheed, 25, Hafiz Syed Sharjeel Ali, 28, and Zahoor Ahmed. All of them were from the same area. Sharjeel was associated with the Tableeghi Jamaat and a father of two children, Rasheed was dealing in computers, Zahoor used to run his own business and Shaukat was an employee of a private company. Atif Ali had arrived a day before from Dubai and police said all the friends were having a get together at a café Green Restaurant when they were killed.
Some miscreants opened indiscriminate fire at a bus 7C near Bantwa Memon Hospital in Kharadar area, killing a woman passenger. A city warden affiliated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was gunned down in Baldia Police remits. Police said that city warden Saifur Rehman was on his way to join his duty in Sadder area when unknown gunmen targeted him at Dehli Colony of Baldia Town. The body of deceased was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and later handed over to the family.
Another MQM worker was shot dead in Hawa Goth, within the remits of Iqbal Market Police. Police said that deceased Afzal Manzoor was on his way to home on a motorbike when gunmen on two motorbikes targeted him to death. Police shifted the body to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead and handed over his body to the family.
The bodies of those killed in North Karachi violence were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where their heirs also staged a protest against the incidents and blamed the government and the law enforcement agencies for their failure to control the nonstop acts of targeted killings on sectarian grounds. Parts of Gulberg and North Karachi areas remained tense where routine and commercial activities were also suspended despite the presence of the heavy contingent of rangers and police. Police and rangers also conducted a flag march in the affected areas to record their presence to alleviate the sense of insecurity among the residents.
The funeral prayers of Qari Asif and Qari Shakirullah were offered at on main Shara-e-Pakistan, the funeral prayers of Mujahid, Yahya and Faizan were offered at Masjid-o-Madrassa Yasinul Quran while the funeral prayers of five friends who lost their lives at in Disco Mor tragedy were offered at Jama Masjid-o-Madrassa Quba. They were laid to rest in Shah Mohammad and New Karachi graveyards.
Tension again escalated during the funeral prayers and the participants of the funerals staged a protest by blocking the roads. They shouted slogans against the authorities and the rival Shia sect. Police resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters and arrested six of them. Later, DG Rangers visited the affected areas while Sindh IGP sought report of the fresh incidents of violence.
Police officials said that 9mm pistols were used in all the incidents and that they had recovered several empty shells from the crime scenes. Police sources said that they have also detained over 50 suspects during targeted raids after these killings but they were still clueless about the real culprits.