Baulkham Hills hotelier shot dead in Pakistan

An Australian man has been shot dead during a robbery in Karachi as a wave of gun violence sweeps over the Pakistani city.

Minhas Zulfiqar, the managing director of the Crowne Plaza Norwest Sydney hotel in Baulkham Hills, was driving back to his accommodation after withdrawing money from a nearby bank when a number of motorcyclists opened fire on his vehicle on Wednesday, according to reports.

The 55-year-old was shot multiple times in the upper body and was pronounced dead at hospital a short time later.

After shooting Mr Zulfiqar, the bandits then robbed him of his money, the Daily Times in Pakistan said.

Mr Zulfiqar and his wife, Razia, had been on a working holiday, visiting family in Karachi and attending to shops they own in the Pakistani city after making a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia about 10 days ago.

They were due to fly back to Australia on the night he was killed.

Syed Zafar Hussain, a longtime friend of the couple and editor of Sada-e-Watan community news in Sydney, said Mr Zulfiqar was a well-respected member of the Indian-Pakistani community.

He often met with members of Parliament and visiting dignitaries and personally knew Premier Barry O'Farrell and Minister for Communities Victor Dominello.

"He was like my brother. I haven't been able to sleep since yesterday," Mr Hussain said.

"Minhas was always putting on functions. We have lost a very generous man who was always ready to help those in need, be it for the flood appeal or any other cause. He was an excellent person and a good friend."

Mr Hussain and Mr Zulfiqar celebrated New Year's Eve together with Pakistani consul-general Azam Mohammed and High Commissioner Abdul Malik Abdullah.

He has two adult sons in Karachi and a grandson.

The shooting occurred near a fast food restaurant in the upper-class neighbourhood of Clifton, according to Pakistani-based The International News.

Mr Hussain said he believed Mr Zulfiqar was targeted either because he was a wealthy man who owned shops in Karachi or because he was a Shiite who are a minority group in Pakistan and often targets of Sunni violence.

"The Karachi police rang his wife and said: 'Your husband is killed, murdered, come and collect the dead body'. No one knows what happened or how it happened. We are all in shock."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.

A spokesman for Crowne Plaza Norwest Sydney said a statement would be released shortly.

Mr Zulfiqar was one of nine people shot dead in Karachi on Wednesday, the Daily Times reported.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-hotelier-shot-dead-in-pakistan-20130321-2ghds.html#ixzz2O8lUOpzM

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