Pakistan

No breakthrough in Nazimabad majlis attack probe despite raids, detentions

Investigation into the Saturday killing of five people in Nazimabad began on Sunday as police carried out raids in several city areas and detained some suspects but remained unable to make a breakthrough.

In an attack on sectarian grounds, assailants shot dead five persons, including two brothers, outside a house in Nazimabad where a Muharram majlis for women was being held.

“We have conducted raids in different parts of the city and detained some suspects for interrogation,” Karachi police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar told Dawn.

However, he conceded that so far nothing “concrete” had emerged from the interrogation of the held suspects. “A forensic analysis of the empty bullet casings recovered from the scene of crime suggested that the murder weapon — two 9mm pistols — has not been used in any previous targeted killings,” he added.

He said that the CCTV cameras footage was being acquired from the possible escape route of the assailants and it might help the investigators to identity the killers.

“At this stage, we are mainly focusing on the sectarian aspect behind the attack on majlis for women,” said the city police chief.

Counter Terrorism Department (CTD chief Additional Inspector General Sanaullah Abbasi seconded the city police chief’s views and added: “Most probably, militants belonging to some banned outfits carried out the attack.”

However, he said that valuable piece of evidence had been destroyed by the people at the crime scene.

He explained that the attackers dropped a loaded magazine while fleeing. The magazine might had fingerprints of the attackers, but it was contaminated since it went into different hands before the police got it.

The CTD chief said that Nazimabad and adjoining areas had faced killings on sectarian grounds and targeted killings of the policemen.

“A crackdown has been launched against extremists in parts of West and East Zones of the police and some arrests have been made,” he said.

The Special Branch of the police was also focusing on “seminaries spreading extremism, people who had taken part in Afghan jihad and other extremists” in the said areas, he added.

He said that the CTD also started a survey about in-house majlis in the city. “Such in-house majlis may run into thousands and it may not be possible for the police to provide security to each majlis but yet we are trying to do so.”

Sources said that a case was not registered as yet since the heirs of those killed in the attack told the police that they would lodge an FIR after performing last rites of their loved ones on Monday (today).

Protest against killing

The Saturday killing also triggered citywide protests as scores of people blocked roads in certain areas and demanded that the government take action against banned outfits.

The protest demonstrations were held in Jaffer Tayyar Society, Malir and Incholi Society where business and commercial activities remained suspended.

The women wing of the Imamia Students Organisation also held a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club.

Addressing the protesters at the KPC, Maulana Baqar Zaidi and Maulana Aqeel Moosa said that the National Action Plan had failed in Karachi.

Separately, Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen leader Allama Raja Nasir Abbas said that the Nazimabad killings reflected “incompetency” of the security institutions.

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