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CCTV footage of Abidi’s assassination: what is the motive?


News Analysis |

In a tragic incident former leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and ex-MNA, Syed Ali Raza Abidi was shot dead in Karachi’s DHA neighbourhood on the eve of Tuesday, Dec 25. Initial reports confirm that Mr. Abidi was coming back to his home while two motorcycle-riding assailants were closely following him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3d_RZlGeZs

As he parked his car in front of his house’s gate, attackers opened the fire. Postmortem report says Mr. Abidi sustained four bullet wounds. It has been confirmed by the officials that the killers were expert and well-trained. “The attackers were expert in target killings,” Raja Umar Khattab, a senior official of Sindh Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department, told local media.

DG ISPR was recently seen playing cricket in the streets of Karachi to convey a message that there was no longer any sense of fear in the city.

He noted that the shooter had targeted Abidi within a span of just 10 seconds. As a result of the attack, Mr. Abidi got seriously injured and was taken to PNS Shifa hospital by his father, Akhlaq Abidi, where the former MQM leader succumbed to his injuries during treatment. SSP Peer Muhammad Shah has said that police has taken in custody the guard, Qadeer, who was employed at Abidi’s house two months ago.

Mr. Shah said that seeing the gunmen attack Mr. Abidi, the guard went inside to get the weapon; but instead of retaliation, he just retreated. The police official also said that firing took place after the gate of Abidi’s house had been opened. “We are investigating the reasons for Abidi’s murder,” SSP Shah continued. “The suspects have been traced at two to three spots through CCTV footage of cameras installed in the area,” he said.

Read more: Abidi’s assassination may have foreign involvement: Information Minister Punjab

Mr. Abidi was a vocal political leader from Karachi. He was a member of the national assembly from 2013 to 2017. During 2018 elections he was unable to defeat Prime Minister Imran Khan. Initially, Mr. Abidi was an active member of MQM but with the passage of time he developed some disagreements with the party leadership and resigned. He left MQM in September 2018.

As he parked his car in front of his house’s gate, attackers opened the fire. Postmortem report says Mr. Abidi sustained four bullet wounds.

He was seen during his tenure as a very vocal supporter of politically weak ethnic groups and missing persons. He was also critical of the state institutions because of their inability to look into the matter of his party’s missing workers. Moreover, while he was part of MQM he opposed one night stand between MQM and Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP). Interestingly, when the majority of the leaders were opposing the convenorship of Mr. Farooq Sattar, Mr. Abidi stood by him.

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Furthermore, Karachi had become a no-go city for many people in Pakistan. An operation was launched by law enforcement agencies to eliminate street crimes, targeted killing, and robbery. Later on, city of lights reportedly started to come back to its traditional hustle and bustle. DG ISPR was recently seen playing cricket in the streets of Karachi to convey a message that there was no longer any sense of fear in the city.

But within a week, murder of two members of PSP and now the killing of former MQM leader have raised an eyebrow. The security agencies need to clarify who did it; was it an outcome of personal enmity? Was it intended to change the narrative and to suppress the debate over corruption and highlight the lack of security in Pakistan’s mega city? Was it a case of political revenge? Was it simply a case of terrorism?

This clarification will help to understand the nature of violence in order to counter it. Analysts believe that it will be premature to hold responsible any individual or group for this murder; it can be propaganda of non-state actors to malign the peace resumption in the city, it can be sectarian killing, or can possibly be a personal vendetta.

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