Karachi, Apr 10 : At least six lawyers were burnt alive and many others injured in Karachi last evening, after some unidentified persons set afire the Tahir Plaza building housing nearly 200 offices of lawyers.
The burnt bodies, including two of women, were recovered after the police broke open the wall of an adjacent building to rescue the trapped lawyers.
A total of 11 people were feared dead in the violence that broke in the city, as unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate fire and set vehicles ablaze in different parts of the city. The objective of the miscreants could not be known, even as the police looked flummoxed to contain the violence.
According to The News, there was "unprecedented violence" in the vicinity of the City Courts, where unidentified miscreants locked the main gate of the Tahir Plaza, situated opposite the courts and set the building on fire, besides opening indiscriminate fire.
The police personnel from the Risala Police Station, who were present at the scene, said they called the fire station repeatedly but the firemen refused to come. The police said that even after a police mobile was sent to ensure them security, the firemen still did not arrive.
Having no ladder or help from the fire brigade, the policemen climbed the building adjacent to the Tahir Plaza, broke its wall to make way to the burning building and vacated the trapped lawyers and other people inside. The Risala police further said that the fire tenders reached the spot two hours after they were called and started efforts to extinguish the fire. After the flames were doused, the rescue staff entered the building and found six completely charred bodies, including two bodies of women, lying in the burnt building. The bodies were of lawyers whose offices were situated inside the building according to the police. One of the bodies was identified as that of Makhdoom Altaf Abbasi, advocate.
There were more incidents of burning of vehicles on the MA Jinnah Road, where a rickshaw was torched near Gul Plaza, a bus was torched at Jubilee Market, two mini-buses were torched at Jamia Cloth Market, while eight vehicles were torched outside the City Courts. Two cars were burnt at Saeed Manzil, a minibus was torched in People's Colony of North Karachi, a trailer was torched near Nagan Chowrangi and a bus was torched near Power House of North Karachi.
Meanwhile, unidentified armed men entered the flat of General Secretary Karachi Bar Association, Naeem Qureshi in Block-18 in the Sharae Faisal police limits. The police said five armed men entered the flat C-423 situated in Qasim Complex, broke open the door open and beat the four students of Iqra University and snatched cell phones and cash from them and torched their pillows and bed. The police further stated that the flat was given on rent to the students by Naeem Qureshi. A case has been reported at the police station.
As the violence unleashed in several parts of the city, hundreds of thousands of commuters were seen stranded, while crippling traffic jams were witnessed on all the major roads of the city. Meanwhile, public transport was completely suspended in the troubled areas.