Father, son who lost lives in attack on Chinese consulate laid to rest in Quetta

 
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Karachi, Nov 24 (TNS): Niaz Muhammad and his son Zahir Shah — who lost their lives in a foiled terror attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi — were laid to rest in Quetta on Saturday.

On Friday, three heavily armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with law enforcers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi. The attack also claimed the lives of two police officials.

According to preliminary investigation, the three armed men came out of a white Suzuki Liana car around 9:30am after parking it near the consulate. As they proceeded towards the consulate with Kalashnikov in their hands, two policemen posted at a checkpoint opened fire on them. CCTV footage showed that the attackers became panicky and resorted to a grenade attack.

Two of the attackers then moved towards the visa facility near the reception area of the consulate. A private guard immediately shut the main gate while a female official of the consulate closed the door of the visa facility area. In an attempt to break open the armoured gate, the militants resorted to heavy firing, leaving the two visa applicants — Niaz Muhammad, 55, and his son, Zahir Shah, 25 — dead.

The father and son were applying for Chinese visas for business purposes. The two, who were from Quetta’s Pashtun Abad area, had been doing business in clothing with China for over a decade.

The funeral prayers for the duo were offered in Quetta’s Eastern bypass area on Saturday. A large number of people participated in the prayers.

Muhammad leaves behind his wife, seven daughters and three sons.

“Since morning, there has been mourning in our house,” a visibly emotional Habibur Rehman, Muhammad’s younger brother, told Media.

Rehman criticised the Sindh government for not cooperating with them. He said that the government had not provided any ambulance services and they had brought the bodies of their loved ones to Quetta themselves.

Rehman also complained that no one from the the Balochistan government had contacted them “to extend any support”.

No MPA or official from the Balochistan government or Sindh government had attended the funeral prayers of the father and son, Rehman said.

When contacted, central leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Noor Muhammad Dumar, expressed “deep sorrow over the loss of precious human lives in Karachi”.

He admitted that officials had failed to participate in the funeral prayers of the victims.

Dumar said that very soon an official delegation from the Balochistan government will meet the bereaved family to offer condolences.

Shortly after Friday’s attack, Prime Minister Imran Khan had strongly condemned the incident and said: “Such incidents will never be able to undermine Pak-China relationship that is mightier than Himalaya and deeper than Arabian sea”.

Other political leaders, including Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif, had also condemned the attack.

‘Suicide mission’
CTD officer Raja Umar Khattab, who is investigating the case, said the militants did not wear ‘suicide jackets’ though it appeared they were on a ‘suicide mission’ as they intended to kill and die. Timely action of the police and other law enforcers ‘foiled’ their bid to enter the consulate, he believed.

“If they had succeeded in entering the consulate, they might have caused more damage,” apprehended the official.

Khattab believed that the banned insurgent group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was involved in the attack, who claimed responsibility before the operation was even over.

According to him, the assault bears resemblance to an attack on the Chinese nationals in Balochistan some months ago when the suspects had used an explosive-laden vehicle to target their vehicle but missed it.