KARACHI, Jan 24: Two activists of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat were shot dead in the old city area on Tuesday, police said. The killings sparked violence in the Lyari locality, where the two victims lived, in the evening as enraged people fired into the air, leaving a passer-by hit by a stray bullet dead, and set a vehicle on fire, they added.
The police said that the two ASWJ activists — 32-year-old Muhammad Ali alias Mama and 24-year-old Muhammad Noman — were coming from the city courts in a rickshaw when two assailants riding a motorcycle intercepted them and opened fire near the densely populated area of Paan Mandi within the remit of the Risala police station.
The rickshaw driver escaped unhurt. The two wounded ASWJ men were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi, where doctors declared them dead.
The victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the torso and head, the police said, adding that Muhammad Ali was a resident of Memon Society in Baghdadi and Noman was a resident of Moosa Lane.
Hearing the news of the attack, a large number of ASWJ activists also reached the hospital.
Maulana Taj Hanfi, a spokesman for the ASWJ or formerly banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, said that Muhammad Ali was working as a legal adviser for the party at the Karachi division level, while Noman was a member of the core committee.
He said that the party had been a target of the killings of its activists for a long time but this time a clear line of action to protest against the killings would be adopted.
Tension gripped Lyari when the bodies of the two victims were brought to their residences for funeral.
The police said that armed men fired into the air in Memon Society within the remit of the Baghdadi police station, where a man, later identified as Muhammad Ishaq, suffered a fatal bullet wound.
According to an initial police investigation, a stray bullet hit Mr Ishaq when enraged people resorted to firing into the air. The body was shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi for medico-legal formalities.
A car was also set on fire on Shah Waliullah Road in Lyari.
All business and commercial activities were shut in the Baghdadi area.
Till late in the night, no case regarding the double murder was registered at the Risala police station.
The situation in the Lyari area remained tense, as no plan was announced with regard to the burial of the slain activists.