Pakistan’s former lawmaker Syed Ali Raza Abidi was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside his home in Karachi, the latest in a series of attacks targeting political leaders in the southern port city. Two armed men on a motorbike opened fire on the former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker’s car outside his house in Khayaban-e-Ghazi neighbourhood in Karachi Tuesday night, Dawn newspaper reported.
The 46-year-old entrepreneur-turned-politician was shot at point-blank range, the paper said. Abidi was alone in his car at the time of the attack. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
According to the post-mortem examination, Abidi sustained four bullet wounds — two in his chest and one each in his neck and arm, the paper said. Counter-Terrorism Department officer-in-charge of the Transnational Terrorism Intelligence Group (TTIG) Raja Umer Khattab said that the attackers appeared to be expert at target killings as they had targeted Abidi within a span of just 10 seconds, the paper reported. His funeral prayers were offered on Wednesday at the Imambargah Yasrab and attended by relatives, friends, and political and social figures, including MQM leaders Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi and senior political others condemned Abidi’s murder. He was considered as one of MQM’s brightest faces. Abidi’s bodyguard, Qadeer, has been arrested, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Pir Muhammad Shah said.
“The guard instead of immediately retaliating to the fire, went inside the house and asked Abidi’s father for a weapon to respond to the suspects’ firing,” Shah said.
Abidi was elected to the National Assembly in the 2013 general elections from Karachi’s NA-251 constituency on an MQM ticket.
In November 2017, Abidi had opposed Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustafa Kamal’s short-lived alliance, and even announced that he was resigning from his NA seat as “this is not what I believed in and stood for”. He contested the July 25 elections from Karachi’s NA-243 constituency, but was defeated by Prime Minister Khan.
Abidi was one of the leaders who had stood with former convener Sattar in the buildup to the 2018 elections when the MQM was subject to an internal power battle, the paper said. In September this year, Abidi tendered in his resignation from the MQM’s “basic membership” citing “personal reasons”. Abidi was lately involved in efforts to reconcile the dispersed factions of the MQM.
The MQM, Karachi’s biggest political party, emerged as a largely ethnic party in the 1980s. It has political dominance in the southern Sindh provinces urban areas – notably in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur where a large number of urdu-speaking people who migrated from India during partition reside. Abidi’s assassination comes days after two workers of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) were killed in the city’s Usmania Society. Earlier this month, six people were injured when a blast hit a Milad organised by the MQM in Karachi.