* Four attackers on two motorcycles shoot the lawmaker multiple times after making sure his identity * Driver succumbs to injuries in hospital
KARACHI: Gunmen on Tuesday shot and wounded Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Abdul Rasheed Godil and killed the driver of his car, police said, as the government sought to woo his party’s deputies back to parliament after they resigned over the arrests of several leaders.
Police said four attackers on two motorcycles fired on Godil as they sped past his car. “They made sure of his identity and shot him multiple times,” said DSP Nasir Lodhi. “The lawmaker has sustained bullet wounds in his jaw and neck.” Rasheed’s driver died in the attack, said another senior police official, Munir Shaikh. Police said it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, which was being investigated. The attack came as talks began at MQM’s Karachi headquarters over last week’s parliamentary walkout to protest against what the lawmakers called a denial of due process for party activists who had been arrested during an operation in Karachi.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is seeking to convince MQM’s 24 lawmakers to rejoin parliament for the sake of stability in Karachi, although their resignation does not cripple the legislature’s functioning. The attack cut short the reconciliation talks, with the MQM saying in a statement that its leaders would hold an emergency meeting to decide their course of action. “We all think this is an intensely sad moment, that when there was momentum for political reconciliation, a member of parliament and people’s representative was shot in a cowardly attack,” MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar told reporters.
Godil was critically injured in the shooting that took place near his residence in Bahadurabad locality of the city. He was rushed to Liaquat National Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. Reports said he was on a ventilator, while the hospital spokesman said the next 72 hours are critical for him. According to a preliminary police investigation report the gunmen fired at Godil’s car when it was near Qartaba Market. The lawmaker took five bullets, two on his neck and three on chest. According to reports a 9mm firearm was used in the firing. Police has found eight bullet shells from the crime scene. Godil had lost excessive blood, a hospital source said.
It said that the MQM lawmaker’s driver, who was also injured in the incident, succumbed to his wounds during treatment. A joint investigation team has been formed under the supervision of DIG East Munir Shaikh and its members are SSP East Javed Jiskani, SSP East (Investigation) Zulfiqar Meher and Special Investigation Unit (SIU) SSP Farooq Awan. Meanwhile, Sindh Rangers issued a statement on Tuesday, condemning the shooting and saying an investigation has been started and the perpetrators will be brought to justice soon. It appealed to citizens to provide any information they had regarding the incident on Rangers’ helpline 1101.
Also, MQM leader Altaf Hussain strongly condemned the attack on Godil, while Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah telephoned MQM leader and Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and assured him the shooters would be apprehended soon. He directed the Sindh IG to report to him about the incident. JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman has said the attack was an attempt to derail the talks that had been initiated to bring MQM back to the assemblies. Fazl is the government’s representative in the negotiations. “This was an attempt to sabotage this process, and now I am again thankful that despite such a big tragedy, the MQM have not changed their stance to continue talks.” The talks would continue in Islamabad but the date has not yet been decided, he added. While condemning the shooting, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called upon the authorities to arrest those behind it.