Karachi comes to a standstill as MQM observes day of mourning

KARACHI: Businesses, markets and educational institutes remained shut on Friday in Sindh’s Karachi, Hyderabad and other rural cities after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced a three-day mourning  period over the killing of its provincial lawmaker Manzar Imam in Karachi a day earlier, Daily Sitara Sindh News reported.

The transport association announced that transporters would keep their vehicles off the road and the All Karachi Traders’ Alliance said businesses and markets in the city would remain closed on Friday.

Public and private transport remained sparse as roads presented a desolated look.

Private and government educational institutions announced closure for the Dayand the Karachi University’s and Federal Urdu University’s examinations scheduled for the day were announced postponed.

Funeral prayers for the assassinated MPA would be held in Jinnah ground and his burial would take place later in Azizabad’s Shuhada graveyard.

Manzar Imam  was killed along with three guards in Karachi’s Orangi town area on Jan 17.

The murder sparked violence in Karachi and several other cities and towns of interior Sindh. Markets were closed, public transport disappeared from roads and petrol and CNG stations were shut down. Four men were killed and several others were injured and four vehicles were set on fire in different areas of Karachi.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed responsibility for the killing of the provincial lawmaker, a spokesman for the banned outfit told Dawn.com.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain termed the killing of Manzar Imam part of a plot to disturb Karachi’s peace and urged people and workers of his party to remain peaceful.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson and  Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, the Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also belonging to the ANP called MQM chief Altaf and offered condolence over the incident. The ANP had also announced three day mourning.

The 46-year-old slain lawmaker, Syed Manzar Imam, had joined the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1986. He remained associated with the Orangi Town sector of the MQM’s organisational structure and became an MPA in the 2008 election from PS-95.

He left a widow, two children, two brothers, three sisters and his mother. He was a Karachi University graduate.While many people believed he was a Shia, he was actually a Sunni.

His name came to the limelight after the August 2010 killing of MQM lawmaker Raza Haider, who was also elected from an Orangi Town constituency (PS-94), when police investigators had said that Manzar Imam, too, was a potential target of the terrorists who killed MPA Haider on sectarian grounds.

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usman hashmi

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