Firing at Telco Franchise at Shadman Town, Near Nagan Flyover

KARACHI: In an incident that caught law enforcers unawares and witnesses baffled, two employees of a telecommunication franchise were killed and two others were injured when armed men entered an outlet of the company and opened fire.

The outlet at which the incident occurred is located in Shadman. The deadly attack caused the closure of all commercial activities in the Crown shopping centre, which is situated a few block away.

The CCTV footage revealed that at around 10:43 am, two armed men clad in shalwar kameez and draped in shawls entered the outlet. Without uttering a single word, the attackers simply pulled out their guns and opened fire. After this, they poured petrol on the counter, lit it on fire and then left. All of this happened within only 23 seconds.

Eight employees, including two females, were present at the outlet during the in


cident. Four of them sustained bullet injuries and were taken to a private hospital. Two of the employees, 26-year-old Amir Shafiq and 22-year-old Ashraf Mehdi, were pronounced dead by the doctors. Shafiq was a resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and was working as a delivery man for the franchise. Mehdi lived in the Ancholi area and worked as a peon at the outlet for the last six years. The names of the injured people are Fahad and Sohail.

The franchise is owned by Murad Ali Soni, who previously served as the chief of the central zone division of the CPLC. The telecommunication company opened the outlet at Shadman six years ago.

Faisal Soni told The Express Tribune that they had never received any kind of threat from any one and they were perplexed as to why the attack happened. “We don’t have a feud with anyone nor have any extortionists been harassing us,” he said. “There is a possibility that this may be a reaction to the blasphemous cartoons published in Norway.”

Witnesses said that the armed men arrived at the outlet of the telecommunication company on a motorcycle and parked the vehicle near the main gate of the shopping centre. “After opening fire and killing the employees, the suspects just walked over to their motorcycle, started the engine and headed off towards Nagan Chowrangi,” said one of the witnesses.

A heavy contingent of the law enforcers arrived at the scene after the incident. The police ruled out the possibility that the attack was the result of a personal enmity or an attempted robbery – they believe that it was an act of terrorism. “The video footage proves that the killers were not just after particular employees. The whole franchise was being targeted,” said DSP Javed Aslam. “It may be an attempt to harass the franchise after the publication of the blasphemous cartoons in Norway which depict the Holy Prophet (pbuh).” The officer said that the culprits may belong to a banned religious outfit. But Aslam added that no conclusion can be reached till the investigation is completed. He said that the police was trying to track down and catch the culprits with the help of the CCTV footage. No case was registered till the filing of this news story.




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