— Abidi’s murder is linked to Quaidabad blast: LEAs tell Sindh CM
— Forensic report reveals murder weapon was similar to another incident
— Sattar claims former MQM-P lawmaker was receiving death threats
— Police take Abidi’s guard into custody
–Governor Ismail to submit report to cabinet on Karachi’s law and order situation on Dec 27
KARACHI: Former member of National Assembly (MNA) Ali Raza Abidi was laid to rest in Karachi on Wednesday.
Abidi, who was the former lawmaker of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), was killed in a shooting outside his home in Khayaban-e-Ghazi area of Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) locality on Tuesday in what police officials claim to be a targeted killing incident.
The funeral prayers of the deceased took place after the Zuhr prayer on Wednesday and the body was moved to the Imam Bargah Yasrab in DHA.
Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi led the funeral prayers as Farooq Sattar, Syed Sardar Ahmed, Salman Baloch and Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra offered the prayers.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi were also in attendance.
‘LINKED WITH QUAIDABAD BLAST’:
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah was informed that Abidi’s murder and the Quaidabad flyover blast is part of a similar chain of events.
Earlier during the day, the provincial chief minister took notice of the incident. He called a high-level meeting to discuss the security situation in the city as incidents of targeted killing seem to be emerging.
Shah lamented the “deplorable” situation as “terrorists seem to be getting united and we are all afraid of them”. Moreover, he said that a free hand has been given to law enforcement agencies to remedy the situation but the results are not desirable.
In response, the deputy inspector general of police (DIG) South reassured him that the police will catch the assailants accused of Abidi’s murder soon.
During the meeting, Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah said that a safe city project is underway, and trackers are being set up on motorcycles. He further informed the participants of the meeting that work is underway for the implementation of the safe city project.
Meanwhile, former president Asif Ali Zardari has called Abidi’s murder a “conspiracy of anti-peace elements”, calling on the Sindh government to arrest the killers and expose the conspirators.
In a statement, the former president expressed profound grief over the murder, saying that the killers cannot escape the long arm of the law. “Ali Raza Abidi’s murder is a conspiracy of anti-peace elements and the Sindh government should nab the murderers and expose the conspirators,” he stated.
According to a forensic report, the weapon used in the murder of the former MNA was also used to murder a man named Ihtisham in the Liaquatabad area of Karachi on December 10.
According to Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) In-charge Raja Umar Khattab, Ihtisham was also murdered using a 30-bore pistol and he was shot thrice. However, he added, Ihtisham’s family noted that he did not have any overt political affiliations.
He also said that both suspects involved in Abidi’s murder held pistols which they used to shoot him. But the pistol through which more shots were fired is the one used in Ihtisham’s murder too.
“Only one bullet was fired from the other pistol which has not been matched to any other murder as of yet,” Khattab said.
SATTAR CLAIMS ABIDI RECEIVED THREATS:
Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar claimed that the murdered ex-MQM-P leader Abid Raza Abidi had been receiving death threats.
Sattar called for an investigation why the MQM-P was not provided security despite a very pertinent threat to his life. He told media that two policemen stationed for his security earlier were withdrawn after the polls.
Regretting that the city has lost an educated voice, Sattar emphasised that the murderers need to be exposed.
POLICE DETAIN ABIDI’S GUARD OVER SUSPICION:
Police have detained the guard of Abidi as part of an ongoing probe into his murder.
Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Pir Muhammad Shah confirmed that the guard, Qadeer, has been taken into custody, as he drew suspension when he went inside the house to ask Abidi’s father for some weapon rather than interfering when his car was being shot.
Moreover, he said that the assailants opened fire when he opened the gate. He told that the guard, who hails from Dera Ghazi Khan, was posted at his house two months ago.
The police superintendent added that the suspects have been spotted multiple times on CCTV footage from cameras installed in the area.
Investigation Officer SP Tariq Dhargo said that statements of seven people, including the guard, have been recorded with reference to the murder.
He added that the target killers were following Abidi’s car. “There are three bullet holes on Abidi’s car and five bullet shells have been recovered. The windows at the car’s right side, as well as the windscreen, have been shattered.”
CABINET AWAITS REPORT:
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail later said that a report has been prepared on Abidi’s killing and Karachi’s law and order situation which will be presented to the cabinet on Thursday.
Addressing media persons along with State Minister for Interior Sheheryar Afridi, Ismail said that the report will be presented to the cabinet on Thursday and important decisions are expected in the session.
Afridi vowed that Karachi will be cleansed of terrorism for once and all as now is the time.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has a message for the residents of Karachi to assist in catching the culprits behind Abidi’s assassination, he said, adding that they will also visit the home of the slain former MQM-P leader.
Former MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan has called for the arrest of those involved in the assassination.
According to the postmortem report, Abidi was hit by four bullets to his neck, arm and chest. The CCTV footage of the murder has also been obtained which shows Abidi arriving at his residence. As he waits for the gate to open, two unknown assailants on a motorcycle stop next to the driver’s door. One steps down and shoots at Abidi, while the other remains sitting on the motorbike. As he shoots, the car jerks towards the porch before stopping. The assailants then flee.
His condition was stated to be critical when he was shifted to hospital. However, he breathed his last later on in the hospital, deputy inspector general (DIG) South said in a statement.
His father, Ikhlaque Abidi, was also injured in the incident.
Abidi was elected as an MNA on MQM’s ticket in 2013 general elections. He, however, joined the Pakistan faction of the party after it split into two following anti-Pakistan tirade by the party supremo during a telephonic address with party workers in Karachi in August 2016.
The lawmaker resigned from his National Assembly membership in November 2017 citing “political and personal reasons”.
The resignation came days after Abidi announced quitting the MQM-P after it entered into an electoral alliance with the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).
He, however, later rejoined the MQM-P in December 2017, before finally leaving the party in September this year.