PTI lawmaker Ramzan Ghanchi shot in Karachi over water dispute

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Ramzan Ghanchi was shot and injured late Thursday night over an alleged water-related dispute in the city’s  Old Haji Camp neighbourhood, police said. 

Ghanchi, who is a member of the Sindh Assembly, received a bullet in the leg and was immediately shifted to the Civil Hospital, authorities said.

While speaking to the media outside the Civil Hospital, Senior Superintendent of Police City Muqaddas Haider said Ghanchi was shot over a water dispute, but was declared out of danger.  

The police official added that suspects Suleman Soomro and his son Ali Soomro have been taken into custody. 

The dispute originated from an issue pertaining to water supply in the area, SP Haider said, adding that the weapon used was likely a small one and employed at a close range. Regardless, “it can only be confirmed after the doctors issue a report”, he added.

The police officer also mentioned that the alleged suspects included Suleman Usman Soomro, the president of the Karachi Timber Merchants Group (KTMG), and his son, both of whom were arrested. 

As party workers started to swarm the hospital, the president of the PTI Karachi chapter, Khurrum Sher Zaman confirmed the incident, saying that he received a call from Ghanchi’s number “some 30 minutes ago” and the wounded party worker said he was “shot at by [KTMG vice chairperson] Suleman Soomro’s son Ali Soomro”.

“He is still bleeding but the doctors are operating on him,” the PTI leader added.

There was no water in their area so they convened a meeting, he said, adding that during the discussion where “two to three neighbours were present”, the Soomros allegedly started firing and injured the PTI leader, who did not have any security guards with him.

“He always goes about by himself and does not prefer any security.”

Zaman, who later spoke to media, said Ghanchi told him he was being taken to the hospital’s trauma centre after getting shot in a firing incident. “I request the chief minister to take notice of this incident,” he said, adding that police, the area’s station house officer (SHO), and Rangers personnel had come to speak to Ghanchi.

The injured PTI leader has recorded his statement with police, he added.

Zaman also told media that the assailants had mentioned considering “burning Ghanchi alive inside a car”.

According to media reporter Zeeshan Shah, who was present at the hospital as well, Ghanchi was hit by one bullet at a close range and was still being operated upon by the doctors.

‘Lousy tactics won’t deter us’

PTI’s Ali Haider Zaidi, the federal minister for maritime affairs, took to Twitter to issue his condemnation of the firing incident.

“Strongly condemn the cowardly attack on PTI MPA Ramzan Ghanchi,” he wrote.

“These 3rd rate lousy tactics won’t deter us from achieving our targets…which are to Inshallah hold accountable all those who’ve robbed our great country & put Pakistan on the path of economic recovery,” he added.

Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, also a party member and MNA, said “Ghanchi is in our thoughts & prayers during his time of recovery. May Allah give him health.”

“Justice will be done & done swiftly the perpetrators of this incident would face the most severe punishment,” he wrote.

On the other hand, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, the provincial minister for excise and taxation associated with the Pakistan Peoples Party, said he condemned the firing incident and that proper legal action would be taken in this regard.