Tension prevails in Karachi after 4 bodies identified as those of MQM workers

* Reports of violence in parts of city; markets, petrol pumps closed, traffic off the roads * MQM gives strike call for today * Altaf terms ‘extra-judicial murders’ of workers ‘barbaric act’

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will hold a day of mourning today (Friday) across Sindh against the killing of four of its workers whose bodies were found from Memon Goth. 
MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told a press conference on Thursday that his party would observe a peaceful day of mourning in Sindh on Friday against killing of its workers. The slain men were identified as Sameed, Ali Haider, Faizan and Salman Qureshi. The MQM spokesman claimed all the four were party’s workers and were arrested by Rangers and police from the Country Tower and Gulshan-e-Maymar on April 13. He said they were brutally tortured to death.
The port city started shutting down after reports about the killings became public, and there was sporadic outbreak of hostilities after MQM’s announcement it will mourn the deaths on Friday. “We are going to stage peaceful protests against the extra-judicial killings of our activists as we reserve the right to protest and mourn our comrades,” said Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui at Nine Zero, the MQM headquarters. He told the media that the deceased workers were arrested in the jurisdiction of Gulzar-e-Hijri Police Station on April 13. He expressed fear for the lives of other party workers who were arrested in the recent operation.
Siddiqui earnestly urged the human rights bodies to raise their voice against these “extra judicial killings”. He asked President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani to order an investigation into the killings of the MQM workers. He also appealed to businessmen and transporters to keep their businesses closed and transport off the roads. 
Answering the mourning call, the business/trade bodies, government/private educational institutes and transporters announced suspension of their activities on Friday. Meanwhile, MQM leader Altaf Hussain condemned as extra-judicial the murders of four of his party’s workers. He urged his party’s workers to remain calm and composed and observe a day of mourning in a peaceful manner. “This barbarism and cruelty has greatly shocked and aggrieved me,” said Altaf.

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