Karachi: A provincial lawmaker of the
ruling MQM party and his bodyguard were shot dead by
unidentified gunmen here today, sparking tensions in
Pakistan`s financial capital where religious and ethnic
violence have been frequent.
Trouble erupted in parts of Karachi after Reza Haider
of the ruling Muthaida Qaumi Movement and a member of the
Sindh Assembly was killed alongwith his bodyguard in downtown
The 35-year-old Haider, who is a senior leader of the
MQM, was gunned down along with his bodyguard Khalid Khan as
they arrived at a mosque in Nazimabad no 2 to attend the
funeral prayers of a friend.
"Four persons riding a motorcycle came to the mosque
and as Reza Haider was performing abolation they fired at him
from close range, it was a clearly a target killing,? a senior
police official said.
"There is lot of tension in the city and in some parts
some mobs have set vehicles on fire and ordered shopkeeper to
shut down their trade, we have increased the patrolling of
police and para-military rangers in the city," a government
The death of the MQM leader comes in the midst of a
series of target killings in the city in which some 40
activists of different political and religious parties have
been killed in the month of July itself.
Soon after the killing of the lawmaker, MQM activists
took to the streets and ordered the closure of all major
markets and shopping centres. Major traffic jams were
witnessed on the main roads of the financial capital as people
rushed back to their homes amid fears of violence and looting.
The MQM and the Awami National Party which represents
the Pakhtuns have been at loggerheads for the last few months
in the midst of the target killings despite being part of the
coalition government in the province.
Both blame each other for the target killings while
the MQM, which represents the Urdu speaking migrants from
India and controls the majority provincial and national
assembly seats from the city, blames the ANP for supporting
the land mafia and drug dealers.
Senior MQM leader Babar Ghouri said they had been
trying to tell the government for the last few months to put a
stop to the target killings.
"It is difficult for us to ask our workers to be
patient in such conditions although our leader has asked
everyone to remain calm. But there is a conspiracy to
destabilise and foment trouble in the city," Ghouri said.