MANSOOR KHAN/SYED JAFAR ASKARI
KARACHI - Sectarian violence spread out in various localities of the City during a strike call given by Shia Ulema Council against the Quetta blast that claimed at least 87 lives.According to details, at least four people of rival defunct group were killed while some eight vehicles and five motorbikes were gutted. An exchange of fire between the protesters and law-enforcement agencies were continued intermittently. The Ulema said the strike would be held peacefully and that the sit-in will continue at Numaish Chowrangi and various other localities of the port City.Violent incidents were continued in the City while situation got tense when gunmen resorted to firing outside a mosque located in Patail Para area and killed three workers of defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.Following the killing SSP workers, enraged people gathered at Patail Para Road and tried to approach MA Jinnah Road where Shia community have already staging a sit in protest.Heavy contingent of the law enforcers reached the spot and resorted to aerial firing and fired teargas shells to spot crowed sought to collide with Shia protesters at MA Jinnah Road. Exchange of fire between the protesters and law enforcers had been continued when miscreants torched five motorbikes parked outside the office of a private TV channel. Enraged crowd threw petrol bomb, targeting law enforcers while held police high ups hostage for several hours. Earlier, some unidentified gunmen resorted to firing near Numaish Chowrangi left two protesters wounded.In another clash took place at Awami Colony, Korangi where armed clash between the rival sectarian groups left at least three people wounded and shifted them to the hospital with critical wounds.Similar situation have also been reported in Surjani Town area where another SSP worker was shot dead by unknown assailants. On the other side, scores of protesters staged sit-in at National Highway, Malir where protesters blocked the railway lines and also suspended the flight schedule from Karachi International airport. Enraged protesters get inside the premises of the airport and ransacked a number of vehicles parked in the airport parking. Enraged protesters set at least four vehicles on fire in the surrounding of airport while one vehicle was torched at Safora Chowk and two others were gutted at Gulbahar area.Following the incident of arson, police and rangers managed to pick up several suspects and shifted them to different police stations. Moreover, four workers of defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan among six people were gunned down in various incidents of target killing here on Monday.Two killed while another wounded when gunmen resorted to indiscriminate firing outside Subhani Mosque located in Patail Para area within the remits of Jamshaid Quarter police station. According to details, three workers affiliated with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat, renamed organisation of SSP, were on the way to mosque when some gunmen on a motorbike sprayed bullets and managed to escape. All three of them were taken to the hospital where two including Rahim and Syed Shah succumbed to injuries while Imran admitted with critical wounds. Following the killing of SSP workers, enraged people gathered at Patail Para Road and set five motorbikes on fire, ransacked a police mobile and held hostage police officials. Police high ups intervened and assured miscreants for the arrest of the culprits involved in the murders of SSP workers. A man was gunned down in Khuda Ki Basti within the jurisdiction of Surjani police station.Police said that the victim namely Haji Fayyaz, 50, was sitting near his residence when unidentified assailants riding a motorbike came close to him and opened fire. He died on the spot. The deceased was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for autopsy and later handed over to heirs. Police suspected that the motive behind the incident was sectarian killing.A man was killed during the robbing bid in Naval Colony in Saeedabad police precincts.Police said that the victim identified as Rafiq was in his home when unidentified bandits barged into his home. During resistance, the bandit started indiscriminate firing. Resultantly he sustained multiple bullet injuries and died on the way to ASH. Two strangulated bodies of men were found near Northern Bypass within the remits of Surjani police station.Police said the victims were identified as Akhtar and Maqbool hailed from Turbat, Balochistan. They were missing from Balochistan and later their bodies were found at said place. Police said that unidentified culprits kidnapped the victims and later dumped their bodies. Their bodies were shifted to ASH for medicolegal formalities and later handed over to heirs. The motive behind the incident has yet to be ascertained while further investigation was underway.Meanwhile, a complete shutter-down and wheel jam strike was observed in the metropolis on the call of multiple Shia organisations against the ongoing wave of sectarian killings especially the brutal killings of Shia Hazara Muslims in Hazara Town, Quetta.The strike call was given by multiple Shia organisations, including Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), Shia Ulema Council and others. The strike was also supported by Jamaat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehrik, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamiyat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Muslim League (Functional) and many traders’ and business bodies. They demanded the arrest of terrorists involved in the Quetta attack.Public and private transport was disappeared from the roads of the City as major transport bodies also supported the strike call. The roads and streets of the City were presenting deserted look while all the business activities, markets, commercial centres, bazaars were all closed seen in all the major areas of the economic hub of the country. The silence in the otherwise bustling city was also consequent to announcements made by private school owners’ association, Karachi transporters and traders associations, on Sunday evening, to keep close their respective operations for a day and express their solidarity with the Quetta blast victims. A few rickshaws could be witnessed plying on the roads, besides scant private vehicles.Major hospitals in the city had made special arrangements to ensure presence of doctors, nursing and paramedical staff so as to ensure that patients are not deprived of needed medical support.City’s administration has beefed up security arrangements at all major sites and thoroughfares so that unscrupulous elements may not exploit the situation. A representative of the office of Commissioner Karachi said talks are underway with the participants of the sit-ins for a peaceful dispersal. “We are responsible for security and safety of citizens and would ensure to do so,” said the official.One of the main reasons behind the successful strike was the anger of the citizens against the killings of Shia Hazara community in Quetta city, where a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden water tanker in a packed bazaar near Hazara Town, an area dominated by Shias in the outskirts of Quetta on Saturday. According to MWM spokesman, on the call of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, hundreds of thousands of Shias began a countrywide sit-in to protest against the Hazara Town, Quetta tragedy. He said, “Faizabad Rawalpindi-Islamabad interchange, inter-provincial traffic for Sindh-Punjab-Balochistan provinces was blocked due to sit-in in Kandh Kot and Jacobabad district. National highway in Hyderabad, Dadu-Moro Bridge, Humayun Road Thul, Tando Allah Yar, Sukkur, Shikarpur were also closed for traffic due to sit-in in almost all the big and small cities of Sindh.”SIT-IN PROTEST CONTINUED IN VARIOUS AREAS: Thousands of Shias staged sit-in in various parts of the megalopolis on Monday to express solidarity with the bereaved families of Quetta bomb blast victims and those who are staging sit-in against massacre of more than 108.The central protest was staged at Numaish Chowrangi, MA Jinnah Road. “The sit-ins paralysed Karachi, disconnected the City from upcountry.”The sit-in that began on Sunday night to express solidarity with the victims’ families of Quetta, entered into second day on Monday. Tens of thousands of Shias participated in the sit-in staged to press the federal government to give Quetta under Army control and launch an Army operation against the terrorists. Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, chief of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen has appealed to 50 million Shias not to sit at home and lodge their protest coming out of their houses, said Maulana Sadiq Raza Taqvi, secretary general of the MWM, told the protestors at National Highway.The sit-ins at Numaish Chowrangi, Shahrah-e-Pakistan Incholi, Gulshan-e-Maymar Super Highway, National Highway Malir, Natha Khan Goth, Colony Gate, Star Gate, Korangi Industrial Area road, Landhi Babar Market, Steel Town, Nazimabad and North Nazimabad main roads, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and at other places virtually paralysed the City. Karachi was disconnected from upcountry due to blockage of main highways.Speaking to the protestors MWM leaders Allama Shaikh Hassan Salahuddin, Maulana Rajab Ali Bangash, Maulana Aqeel Abbas Sadiqi, Maulana Ali Mohammad, Maulana Jafar Raza, Maulana Karimi, Professor Shaista Zaidi and Khanam Zahra Najafi and Allama Nazir Abbas, Jafar Subhani of Shia Ulema Council and Allama Abbas Kumaili of Jafaria Alliance spoke and condemned the callousness of the government. The MWM and other parties demanded the government to launch an Army operation against the notorious sectarian terrorists of the outlawed outfits.The countrywide sit-ins will be continued till the demands are met altogether, vowed MWM leader Sadiq Raza Taqvi. Sit-ins were staged in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces and also in Parachinar, he said.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 19-Feb-2013 here.