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Top Pakistani party leader escapes assassination bid

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) senior leader Khwaja Izharul Hassan escaped an assassination attempt on Saturday in the southern port city of Karachi while he was coming out of a mosque after offering Eid prayers.

A child and one of Hassan’s security guards were killed in the attack which took place in the city’s Bufferzone area. Hassan, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, was unhurt, Dawn online reported.

Four others were injured in the attack, according to police officials.

Four assailants on two motorcycles opened fire on the MQM-P leader outside the mosque, said Deputy Inspector General Police Zulfiqar Ali Larik.

“They were wearing helmets and were garbed in police uniforms,” Hassan said, adding that the assailants opened fire right after they saw him exiting the prayer area.

Police said one of the assailants was shot dead in retaliatory firing and they had recovered the shell of a 9mm pistol bullet as well as a motorcycle used by them.

Condemnations poured in from provincial lawmakers soon after the attack. The city’s police chief was also directed to submit a report on the matter.

MQM-P supremo Farooq Sattar later said in a press conference that the provincial government cannot be absolved of responsibility in the incident.

“What if the leader of the opposition had been killed? What would have the city’s situation been like?” he said. “Already, people are frustrated with the way Karachi was completely neglected in the aftermath of the [recent] rains.”

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