KARACHI - Two prayer leaders among five people belonging to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) were gunned down and another wounded in separate sectarian based targeted attacks.

In a fresh wave of sectarian killings, five people including two prayers leaders – all belonging to a religious organisation – Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) were shot and killed and another was wounded critically in three separate incidents within a span of one hour.

Earlier in the last holy month of Muharramul Haram, the Shia community was on the target of the culprits as nearly seven people of the community were killed and several others were wounded by unidentified persons. The police and Rangers remained fail to arrest them. The deadliest incident of Friday occurred near Shafiq Morr in Federal B Area where the three ASWJ men were shot dead by armed motorcyclists’ assailants.  Witnesses said that the two suspects riding a motorcycle were behind the incident, who targeted the three victims who were travelling on their motorcycle.

All the three died at the spot later their bodies were transported to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities. They were later identified as Maulana Usman Hyderi, Muhammad Yaqoob and Shahid Rafiq. All the victims aged between 25 to 30 years.

The victims hailed from Azad Kashmir and were relatives of each other and lived here in a city at Mosmiyat locality. The assailants targeted them when they were returning after attending the Tahafuz-e-Harmain Sharifeen Rally outside the Siddique-e-Akbar Masjid at Nagan Chowrangi after Friday prayers.

ASWJ claimed the affiliations of the victims with the organisation. Maulana Usman was the ASWJ in-charge for Mosmiyat unit as well as prayer leader for the Ashab us-Suffah Masjid in Mosmiyat and those who killed along with him were the ASWJ workers.

A large number of ASWJ leaders and workers also reached the hospital following the incident and staged a protest. The protesters also demanded slogans against the law enforcement agencies, government and rival sectarian group. They also demanded the arrest of the culprits.  “Everyone knows who killed our men,” said ASWJ spokesperson. “Those who are against Harmain are involved in the killings of ASWJ workers.”

In a similar incident, another prayer leader identified as 30-year-old Shafiqur Rehman was shot dead while he was also returning after attending rally at Siddiq-e-Akbar Masjid. ASWJ also claimed his affiliation with a party saying that deceased was party’s supporter. SHO Zulfiqar Haider said that the armed motorcyclists targeted him near Hyderi Market in North Nazimabad.

Earlier in a day, two worshippers who also belonged to Sunni school of thought who were also claimed to be the supporters of the ASWJ were targeted at Patel Para in Jamshed Quarters. One of them identified as Amin Muhammad, 30, was died at the spot while his companion, namely Abdul Baqi, 35, was wounded critically.

SHO Inam Junejo said that both the victims belonged to Khuzdar, Baluchistan and were targeted by armed assailants while they were returning after offering Friday prayers.

Police said that they were investigating the series of targeted attacks from different angles. They suspect that the same group could have behind the series of targeted attacks and it could be a reaction of the recent attacks on the rivalry sectarian groups in Karachi.

Over dozen injured in

hand grenade attack

Over a dozen people including women and children were wounded in a hand grenade attack in Lyari area, here on Friday. According to police, unidentified armed motorcyclists hurled a hand grenade in Singu Lane area of Lyari within the limits of Chakiwara police station. The armed assailants later managed to escape after lobbing a grenade.

As a result of explosion, nearly 15 people including women and children were wounded. The injured persons were taken to the Civil Hospital, Karachi for medical treatment. Police and Rangers reached the site and cordoned off the locality. Police said that the Lyari gangsters were behind the incident while the motive behind the incident has yet to be ascertained. IGP Sindh Allah Dino Khowaja also took the notice of the incident and asked DIG South Azad Khan to compile a report over the incident.