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Shia Doctor Gunned Down In Karachi In Apparent Sectarian Attack

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A senior government hospital doctor was killed in an apparent sectarian attack in Karachi’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Friday.

Police informed media that the deceased, Dr Haider Askari, was on his way home from a hospital in Korangi when his car was intercepted by two armed motorcyclists near Karachi Development Authority Market in Block 3.

A report in Dawn cited Gulshan SP Shahnawaz Chachar as saying that the attackers fired at the doctor, leaving him with a bullet wound in his left shoulder.

The injured doctor was taken to Agha Khan University Hospital, where he breathed his last. His body was transferred to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for a post-mortem exam.

It is still under investigation whether this was a sectarian killing or not. The SP detailed that investigators were analysing the matter while considering both explanations that the killing could be sectarian in nature or could be due to resistance to a robbery attempt.

The SP said that because the victim was Shia and because Muharram was approaching, police investigators were considering sectarianism as the possible motive for the killing. The SP said that resistance to robbery could not be ruled out.

Moreover, witnesses had informed police that the armed riders tried to stop the car and shot at the doctor when he attempted to speed away.

Meanwhile, political party Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) has alleged that the killing of Dr Haider Askari was motivated by sectarian ideology.

A member of the MWM, Allama Baqar Zaidi, expressed regret over the ‘killing of a Shia community in Karachi prior to Muharram’. Allama Baqar has urged government and law enforcement authorities to take notice of the incident.

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An organisation called the ‘Shia Wehdat News’ has claimed that this was a sectarian killing as Dr Haider Askari had received threats a couple of years ago.

The killing, coming days before the start of Muharram, will be a cause of unease and fear for the Shia community. The community not only suffers from targeted killing but is also victim to enforced disappearances. Two months back, members of the community had staged a sit-in in front of President Arif Alvi’s house in Karachi. The sit-in had ended after the recovery of 27 missing persons.

Meanwhile, while commenting on the killing, social activist Jibran said that we need to ponder over the fact that the killing of members of the Shia community usually involves the murder of scholars, teachers and doctor. He was of the view that this was done to induce maximum fear among people.

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