KARACHI – No less than 20 people, including six seminary students and two journalists, were killed and many others wounded in a deadly day of violence in the country’s financial hub on Saturday, as law-enforcement agencies depressingly failed to step up their presence in many ‘troubled’ neighbourhoods, among them North Nazimabad, where a suicide bomber had rammed a truck laden with explosives into the headquarters of Pakistan Rangers two days ago.According to security officials, eight of these 20 people were shot dead within half an hour in the evening in two attacks alone. In the worst incident in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area, unidentified gunmen killed six seminary students. Investigators said they were sitting at a tea stall in Block-2 close to their seminary, Jamia Arabia Ahsanul Uloom, when four attackers, riding on a motorbike, appeared on the scene and opened fire on them. Besides the students, said the police officials, four others present there, to have tea, received fatal gunshot wounds. Identified as Abdul Khaliq, M Imran, Abdul Rehman, Habibullah, Muhibullah and Hakeem Saeed, the students, aging between 25 and 30, succumbed to their injuries at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). They all hailed from Balochistan. The deadly shooting triggered panic in the area, forcing commercial and non-commercial activities to close. The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, to which the students were associated, strongly condemned the killings. No case was registered till the filing of this report. In North Nazimabad area, two journalists were mowed down by an unidentified bike-borne attacker. The incident took place near the Safi College. Identified as Syed Tariq Hussain and Aslam Raja, the victims used to work for a weekly. According to police officials, the two journalists were heading somewhere on a motorbike, when the gunman sprayed them with bullets, and fled. A police party rushed and ferried them to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where doctors pronounced them as brought dead. Later, the bodies were handed over to the heirs. The motive behind the dual murder could not be ascertained (until the filing of this report). Also in North Nazimabad, an Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat activist was shot dead near KDA Square. Ifran Jamshed was going somewhere on his motorbike, when unidentified attackers opened fire on him, wounding him fatally. He was rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where doctors pronounced him as brought dead. A PPP worker was killed in an attack outside his residence in Jumma Goth of Korangi area. Akhtar Hussain Kamlati, 18, son of Mohammad Hussain Kamlati, was targeted by a bike-borne armed duo. He sustained multiple bullets and died on the spot. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for autopsy, and later handed over to the heirs. Police officials suspected that he might have been killed over personal enmity. In Korangi No 6, unidentified armed miscreants killed a young man, namely Mashooq Ali, 18, son of Zafar Ali, and wounded another, namely Talha, 19, son of Taj Mohammad. The attackers, believably bandits, barged into a generator shop and opened indiscriminate fire when faced with resistance. Mashooq and Talha received serious injuries and were ferried to the JMPC, where the former breathed his last. Talha was stated to be in critical condition. Another man, identified as Taufeeq Arain, was killed In North Nazimabad area. The incident took place in Shadman locality. Police officials said Arain was on his way on a car, when two armed men, riding a motorcycle, shot and killed him. In Malir area, Saleem Qureshi, 50, died when a stray bullet hit him in the head while he was seated in the rear seat of a passenger van. His body was shifted to the JPMC for autopsy and later handed over to his family. Separately, a teenager, namely Waqar Afridi, was shot dead in Ali Town. Officials of the Sacchal Police Station said the victim was standing near his residence, where two unidentified armed riders opened fire on him and fled. The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem from the ASH. The officials said the victim had involvement in various cases of robbery, and suspected that his associates might have him murdered him. Meanwhile, four bodies, riddled with bullets, were recovered from Racksar Lines area within the jurisdiction of the Pak Colony Police Station. The victims were identified as Munawar Pathan, Shahid, Babar and Qadir. Investigators suspected that unidentified culprits might have kidnapped them from somewhere, and later killed them. They said the victims belonged to a Lyari gang of Baba Ladla, suspecting that they might have been killed by rival gangster group, headed by Arslan Papu. The officials further said that although the two sides had reached an understanding over peddling of drugs in a certain area, the rivals abducted Munawar Pathan, Shahid, Babar and Qadir, and later killed them all. The bodies were shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) for autopsy, and later handed over to the heirs. On Thursday, three paramilitary troopers were killed and 26 others, including five civilians, injured when a suicide bomber rammed a mini truck packed with explosives into the headquarters of Pakistan Rangers in North Nazimabad area.The high-intensity explosion damaged the two-storied building, a section of which later collapsed. Parts of the building had also caught fire.Witnesses said the blast was heard across a large area and images from the site showed a scene of destruction, including a building with its front ripped off. It also caused damage to the nearby buildings smashing their windows. After the bombing, Sindh Police chief Fayyaz Laghari had said tight security measures in force at the base had prevented major loss of life.The menace of sectarian and ethnic killings and incidents of targeted shootings in Karachi also seems to have taken hold of Hyderabad, the second largest city of Sindh. Two members of Dawoodi Bohra community were shot dead on Saturday night and three men belonging to an organisation of Barelvi school of thought were killed in Gari Khata area on Sunday night. Three others were injured. The deceased were identified as Shakeel, Kashif and Mustafa Kamal, the patron of Ghausia Foundation.Two unidentified armed men, both attired in shirt and trousers and one of them sporting a cap, had sprayed them with bullets in the one-room office of Ghausia Foundation, where a ‘Mehfil-i-Ghausia’ was underway.

Published in The Nation newspaper on 11-Nov-2012