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Prayer leader shot dead in ‘targeted attack’ in Karachi

A prayer leader was shot dead in a suspected targeted attack in Karachi’s Sachal area on Friday morning, officials said.

Mohammed Arbab, 55, was coming out of the Minarul Huda Masjid in Sachal Goth near Murtaza Chowk after offering Fajr prayers when armed pillion riders opened indiscriminate fire on him and fled, said Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur.

He sustained 11 bullet wounds and was transported to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. He was shifted to the operation theatre and died within half an hour, according to police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi.

“It appeared to be a targeted killing incident,” the Malir SSP told Dawn. However, the senior officer ruled out the possibility of a sectarian motive being behind the murder.

He pointed out that the deceased was a prayer leader (khateeb) of the mosque belonging to the Ahle Hadees school of thought. SSP Bahadur believed that there was no history of targeting Ahle Hadees followers on sectarian grounds.

The victim’s father is also a khateeb of the same mosque.

Police investigators collected 11 spent bullet casings from the crime scene and sent to the police’s forensic science lab to ascertain as to whether the same weapon was used in previous murder cases.

The Malir SSP said that the investigators have ‘some clues’ about the possible motive of the murder and are working on it. He did not elaborate.

DIG East Amir Farooqi revealed that the victim’s elder brother, Arbab Anas, is an official (HR manager) of the Karachi Port Trust who is also a “witness of NAB (National Accountability Bureau)” in a reference against former federal minister for ports and shipping Babar Ghauri, ex-KPT chairman Javed Hanif and others.

The case pertained to alleged illegal recruitment of 940 people, many of whom had alleged serious criminal records, according to NAB sources.

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