KARACHI – MANSOOR KHAN/HASSAN JAWWAD - President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday ordered a crackdown against the terrorists in the port city, as at least eight more people were gunned down in the current wave of killings in different parts of the metropolis, bringing the death toll to 32 since Tuesday. All major business and trading centres remained closed in response to the mourning call given by the MQM.

The latest unrest gripped the city when unidentified gunmen, allegedly affiliated Lyari Amman Committee, on Tuesday killed MQM worker and his brother besides wounding Masood’s wife Uzma. The resultant violence has claimed 32 lives so far.

On Friday, two ANP men, including Hidayatullah and Ashiq Ali, were gunned down in Manghopir and Orangi Town which triggered reaction claiming four more lives in the adjoining neighbourhoods of Orangi Town.

Police said Hidayatullah was gunned down over personal enmity, while Ali had been killed during exchange of fire.

Following the killing of ANP workers, armed men killed four people in the Banaras and Frontier Colony areas.

They are identified as Waseem, his son Hassan and relative Kamaluddin, while another Nizam was wounded in the incident. Another man identified as Sami Kamal was gunned down and others were wounded in Frontier Colony.

The funeral prayers of Waseem and Hassan, who were the sympathisers of MQM, were offered at Jhanda Chowk Liaquatabad No 4 and they were laid to rest in Paposh Nagar graveyard. A large number of people, including MQM leaders, also attended the funeral.

Meanwhile, the four police personnel deployed at the Banaras Bridge at the time of the incident were arrested on the directives Additional IG Karachi Akhtar Hussain Gorchani, while an FIR was also registered with the Pirabad Police Station.

Within an hour of the arrest of policemen and funeral of MQM sympathisers, unidentified culprits gunned down four more people in different parts of the city. A bus driver 36-year-old Janan Khan, resident of Landhi, was gunned down near UP Morr, while Rizwan, 28, was killed while his friend Zohaib received multiple wounds, when assassins a prayed a volley of bullets at their car in the Defence area. They were the residents of Moosa Lane, Lyari.

Another man identified as Salahuddin, 35, (a labourer and resident of Farid Colony) was shot dead in Raheem Shah Colony within the precincts of Mominabad Police Station.

All major business and trading centres of Karachi, termed as economic capital of Pakistan, remained close. According to an industrialist, one-day closure of businesses cost Rs 9b to the national economy. Public transport disappeared from the city roads after killing spree started in the city. Office workers looked helpless to pay hefty amount to rickshaw and taxi drivers as there were no buses on the roads. An industrialist told TheNation that the estimated loss in revenue was Rs 4b for each day, while production and trade losses stood around Rs 9 to Rs 10b.

Agencies add: President Asif Ali Zardari dashed to Karachi on Saturday morning to take stock of the disturbing law and order situation in the mega city which claimed more than 20 lives in the last few days. Immediately on arrival, the president summoned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and directed him for a complete crackdown against terrorists in the city.

He said even if members of the PPP or allied parties were found in target killings, they should also not be spared to ensure security of life to the people.

Zardari said the incidents in Karachi were not only affecting the economy but also credibility of the country and foreign investors were shy of coming to Pakistan because of the disturbed law and order situation.

It may be recalled that the president attended a four-nation conference in Tajikistan and then proceeded to London and Dubai for medical check-up.

After the president’s orders, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan ordered the IGP and Rangers officials to restore the law and order situation in Karachi as soon as possible.

Wasan ordered the patrolling of SHOs in their respective areas and immediate arrest of suspects involved in targeted killings.

On the other hand, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Mushir Alam Saturday took notice of the violence in the metropolis. He sought a report from Sindh Police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Shah and Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Rizwan Akhtar in this connection.