Mourning across Pakistan on MQM’s appeal over MPA killing

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KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has announced three days of mourning throughout Pakistan in protest of the killing of its lawmaker Sajid Qureshi and his young son on Friday. According to TV channel reports, the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing the MPA. Sajid Qureshi, 52, was coming out of a mosque in North Nazimabad after Friday prayers when three gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on him. His 28-year-old son Waqas was also killed when he rushed to help his father, SSP Central Amir Farooqi said.

He said the killers were waiting for Mr Qureshi and appeared to have known him. The legislator was hit by four bullets and his son seven.

Soon after the incident, tension and fear gripped several areas and shops were closed and commercial activities came to a grinding halt. Transport disappeared from roads and fuel stations were closed. At least six vehicles were set on fire.

Reports of violence were also received from Hyderabad and some other cities and towns of Sindh.

Mr Qureshi, elected from PS-103, is the first member of the new Sindh Assembly and among three MQM legislators killed over the past three years. The other two were Raza Haider and Manzar Imam.

MQM coordination call and ‘appealed’ to the traders and transporters to keep their businesses closed on Saturday.

“Condemning the incidents as a big tragedy the Co-ordination Committee announced to observe three days of mourning throughout the country. The decision was taken in a joint meeting of the committee in London and Pakistan,” said an MQM statement.

“The committee appealed to traders, industrialists, shopkeepers, transporters and people belonging to different spheres of life to observe the day of mourning and suspend business activities and keep transport vehicles off the road on Saturday.”

The associations of key business segments announced to stay away from their regular work on Saturday on the MQM appeal. They showed the same gesture on MQM’s appeal only last week when the party called for a ‘day of mourning’ and ‘appealed’ them to keep their businesses closed against killing of its workers.

“We strongly condemn the killing of MPA Qureshi and his young son and hold government responsible for failing to protect the lives of citizens,” said Ismail Lapuria, secretary of the Sindh Tajir Ittehad — a common platform of wholesale and retail markets across the province.

“We’ve responded to their [MQM] appeal and decided to keep business closed on Friday. It’s only to keep the protest peaceful and support the cause to condemn the brutality.”

Same were the thoughts from the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers’ Association and Karachi Transport Ittehad, who ‘supported’ the MQM protest and announced to keep fuel stations closed and buses off the road.

Exams postponed

The situation forced educational institutions to postpone the exams scheduled for Saturday. The Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, the University of Karachi and the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi announced that the exams scheduled for June 22 had been postponed. They announced that the date for the postponed papers would be notified later.

The Urdu university also announced postponement of the Anjuman-i-Asatiza programme that was supposed to be held at its Gulshan-i-Iqbal Campus on Saturday. The BIEK, meanwhile, advised students to approach their respective colleges to get a new schedule of their technical exams.