Guard kills Afghan diplomat in Karachi over ‘personal grudge’

* Rangers, police surround consulate amid fears of possible terrorist assault after Rehmatullah opened fire on third secretary Muhammad Zaki

Guard kills Afghan diplomat in  Karachi over ‘personal grudge’

KARACHI: An Afghan diplomat, a third secretary at the Afghanistan consulate in Karachi, was shot dead by a private security guard in the Clifton area on Monday.

The guard opened fire on Muhammad Zaki in the lobby of the Afghan Consulate, according to Deputy Inspector General (South) Azad Khan.

He told journalists that the incident took place inside the lobby of the consulate after a personal scuffle between the guard and the diplomat.

"The private security guard, Rehmatullah, who opened fire was also an Afghan national and used a sub-machine gun," said Azad Khan, adding that the guard had been arrested and the consulate cleared.

Following the firing, roads around the consulate were closed for traffic in the Old Clifton area of the metropolis. Heavy contingents of police and Rangers rushed to the site immediately after the attack amid fears of a possible terror attack. The missions of the United Kingdom, France and Indonesia are also in the same vicinity.

Police and Rangers cordoned off the area for passers-by and even for the media persons. However, according to witnesses, the firing continued for more than an hour.

The Afghan Consulate's spokesman, Haris Khan, said that Zaki died of his injuries shortly after the shooting. "We were working at our office when we heard gunshots and everyone was running in panic," he said.

Azad Khan said that it seemed the guard had some sort of a personal tussle with the diplomat, so he opened fire. He further said that the police were collecting evidence, and that the CCTV footage would also be obtained. Accused Rehmatullah and another suspicious person were taken into custody by law enforcers. According to the police, both were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

On the other hand, Pakistan extended condolences to the Afghan government over the killing of the official by the consulate's own guard, and assured them of full assistance in the investigation.

According to a statement, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry also talked on the phone with Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal to express his condolences.

Omar Zakhilwal described the shooting on his official Facebook account. "Firing inside Afg Consulate General in Karachi at around 12:30 pm today ... has been carried out by an Afghan guard inside the compound resulting in fatality of one of our diplomats," he wrote. Meanwhile, Sindh Police Inspector General AD Khawaja, taking notice of the case, has asked officials for an urgent and detailed enquiry report.