Four persons, including a policeman, were wounded when miscreants belongs from Awami National Party (ANP) opened fire on participants of the mourning procession taken out in connection with the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (AS) while it was passing through Saddar on Wednesday.Shortly after the incident, police acting on information provided by the participants of the procession arrested 20 suspects belongs from ANP from a nearby building. However, they ruled out the chances of terrorism and described the incident as a result of some mischief on part of miscreants.
The police said a crowd of onlookers earlier became involved in an altercation with mourners over using a Saddar road on the route of the procession that had been sealed for security purpose. The passersby chanted slogans against the procession and hurled stones at the law-enforcers and mourners.
SSP of Saddar Town Javed Akbar Riaz told Dawn that two participants of the procession suffered gunshot wounds in their hands and another person sustained a bullet injury in the leg when the miscreants opened fire.
He said that a policeman and a passerby were also injured when stones were hurled at them.
Narrating the incident, another law-enforcement official said that a large number of people had gathered near the Empress Market on Dr Daudpota Road which had been sealed for the security of the procession. Since it was a working day, there were a large number of people stranded on both sides of the Empress Market Road, the official said, adding that they wanted to cross over the other road. But, he said, they got agitated when police did not allow them to use the road and started chanting slogans against the procession and pelted stones at the police. The members of the procession reacted to the incident by chanting slogans, he added.
It was already a charged atmosphere when someone from the rooftop of a nearby building opened fire. Eyewitnesses said that the gunshots fire from the build ing left four people wounded.
On hearing the gunfire, Rangers personnel and many other policemen rushed to the spot. The participants of the procession pointed at a building situated close to the Daudpota Road and Empress Market Road intersection, saying that gunshot had been fired from there. By then, the head of the procession had reached the M.A. Jinnah Road.
Eyewitnesses said that some Rangers personnel immediately opened fire on the building without identifying their target. Law-enforcers, meanwhile, surrounded the building and picked up around 20 people.
â€œWe have rounded up 20 people from the building, but no weapon was recovered from their possession or from the premises of the building,â€ said DIG (south) Iqbal Mehmood.
Since some of them were with their families, the police also searched the neighboring buildings in the area but no suspect or arms could be recovered, he said.
However, some television channels reported that two AK-47 rifles were recovered from the rooftop of a building.
A large number of mourners stayed on the spot demanding that the suspects, hiding in the building, should be arrested and brought out. However, police and Rangers avoided further action and waited till the situation calmed down.
Later in the evening, the 20 suspects were shifted to the Preedy police station. They were being questioned by the police till the filing of this report.