Karachi: A strike by transporters and gas dealers coupled with the closure of government hospitals after a doctor was murdered, crippled the financial capital at the weekend.

Public transport remained off the road as thousands of bus and wagon owners complied with the strike called by their association against the closure of compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations and its rising price.

The transport had to be shut down because CNG dealers also shut down their stations to protest against the government policies of distributing the natural gas quota, which was unjust, they say.

This largest city of Pakistan that is the backbone of its economy largely remained closed because of people's inability to travel. Those who owned cars and other vehicles were also be compelled to remain at home because fuel, the CNG, was not available in the city.

The CNG dealers yesterday said it was a token strike to make the government realise their problems but if notice was not taken they would call a strike for an indefinite period.

"Life is getting from bad to worse day by day for the people like us," one worker said.

The strike was also observed in the other parts of Sindh province.

Gunned down

The people's misery worsened when several state-run hospitals shut their out patient departments, operation theatres to protest against the killing of doctor Saleem Kharal, a brother of provincial legislator, and a prominent medical practitioner. He was gunned down on Friday night in an apparent mobile phone burglary. But many believe he was targeted.

Jinnah Post graduate Medical College (JPMC) and Civil Hospital, the city's two main public sector hospitals effectively remained closed to mourn the death of the doctor.

He was the third doctor who was shot dead in the month of December by unknown shooters.

"We strongly condemned the killing of doctor Kharal right under the nose of police on patrol," Dr Simin Jamali, the director of JPMC and head of the emergency department, said. President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered an inquiry into the murder but doctors planned to carry on their protest and condolences tomorrow.

"All the doctors would march inside the hospital to protest the murder on Monday, besides recital of Quran," Jamali said.