Increase font size Decrease font size Reset font size

Two army men gunned down in Karachi

By Imran Ayub 2016-07-27
KARACHI: Two army soldiers were killed in a gun attack in the busy Saddar area on Tues day, challenging the claims of the government and security agencies of restoring peace to the beleaguered city.

The fresh assault on the Pakistan Army troops came as a grim reminder of the December 2015 shooting on the Military Police personnel on the arterial M.A.

Jinnah Road that claimed the lives of two soldiers.

Random incidents of targeted attacks and other crimes have surged in recent weeks, renewing fears among the Karachiites, who experienced a semblance of peace afterthelaunchoftargeted operations by the law enforcement agencies in Sept 2013.

The Tuesday incident was shocking in that the attackers chose one of the busiest city districts for the ambush.

The place where they spotted the military vehicle is known for traffic congestion and narrow lanes. Despite all odds, the armed motorcyclists executed the job and sped away.

`It`s a narrow street just behind the Saddar parking plaza, off the Preedy Street, said Sindh police`s counterterrorism department official Raja Umer Khattab, the first among several officers to reach and examine the crime scene.

`Our initial findings sug-gest that two men riding a motorbike fired at the military vehicle from behind.

They used 9mm pistol and the attack left both the uniformed men inside the vehicle wounded. The driver lost the control of the wheel and the moving vehicle stopped after hitting the wall of a building.

The armed riders executed their job swiftly a little after 4pm. Within minutes police and a heavy contingent of Pakistan Rangers cordoned off the area. One of the soldiers, Lance Naik Abdul Razzaq, died while being shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

`The other wounded victim, Khadim Hussain, was moved to the emergency unit where doctors and paramedics tried their best but could not save his life. Both victims were hit in the head and chest from a very close range,` said Dr Seemi Jamali, who heads the JPMC emergency unit.

Lance Naik Abdul Razzaq and Sepoy Khadim Hussain hailed from Naushahro Feroz and Dadu, respectively. Both were posted at 48-Supply & Transport section of Corps V.

The fresh assault against the army troops came amid an ongoing debate over strained relations of the Pakistan Peoples Party with the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, which have been waiting for a government nod to stay in the province with special powers to continue the targeted operations againstmilitants and hitmen that were launched in September 2013.

As the Sindh government insisted that the Rangers had no `constitutional mandate` to carry out actions in any other part of Sindh except Karachi, the paramilitary force earlier this month lost a legal cover to operate even in Karachi.

With the PPP decision to replace Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah with a relatively young Murad Ali Shah and the attack on the armymen, the Rangers-PPP relations, policing powers of the paramilitary force and extension in their stay amid fast deteriorating city peace have gained much more significance than the past.

Still in office, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ai Shah condemned the incident and sought immediate report from the police chief with the directive to solve the case within the shortest possible time.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan followed him, calling it an attempt of the `terrorists` to `mar the peace in the city`.

`The terrorists are trying to mar the peace in the metropolis,` he said in a statement. `However, the government in collaboration with the people would frustrate any such machination.

The personnel of the security forces have made great sacrifices and the nation pays them tribute for the maintenance of law and order.