Uzair Jan Baloch, the chief of banned People’s Aman Committee, evaded arrest in an early morning police raid at his residence in Lyari on Saturday.
Ten suspects were detained, however, as the South Zone police launched a crackdown in Singho Lane.
On July 25, the Sindh High Court chief justice had directed the provincial police chief to explain why Uzair, a proclaimed offender in the murder case of Lyari-based gangster Arshad Pappu, could not be arrested.
Residents claimed the PAC chief knew about the raid and escaped before the police arrived. No wanted suspects or any weapons were found from the house and its surrounding compounds.
Following the raid, some people took to the streets and blocked all main roads in Lyari, burning tyres and shouting slogans against the police and law enforcement agencies.
Sindh AIGP Ghulam Qadir Thebo said the raids would continue in Lyari as well as other parts of the city until they managed to arrest criminals and wanted offenders. The protests were not something to worry about, he added.
“People are allowed to protest but they can’t prevent law enforcers from taking action against criminals,” he said. “Unless the protesters create a law and order situation anywhere in the city, they are not a problem for the law enforcement agencies.”
Some people claimed that Uzair and his associates were informed about the police raid beforehand and had gone into hiding.
They move about freely in Lyari, throw parties and carry out all their activities but the police could not find a single weapon or wanted person during this raid, the police official questioned.
SSP Tariq Dharejo along with a dozen police vans raided Uzair’s residence. Although the Lyari police was informed about the raid, it was not included in the operation, sources told The News.
A relatively small number of residents of Lyari turned up at the protest led by MPA Sania Naz Baloch against the arrest of the suspects. This shows the police raid was not seen as “genuine threat” to Lyari-based gangsters or otherwise the number of protesters could have been much higher. Sania condemned the police raid and the arrest of “innocent people”, demanding that the authorities release them immediately.