The Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) claims to have gunned down three Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists, including two Afghan bombers, during a shootout in the wee hours of Tuesday.
In a media briefing at his office, Karachi police chief Addl IGP Amir Ahmed Shaikh said AVCC officials under the supervision of SSP Irfan Ali Bahadur conducted an operation after receiving intelligence that TTP terrorists were present in Raees Amroha Colony, Ittehad Town, Baldia Town.
When the police team arrived on the scene, the officials were met with armed resistance that resulted in Police Constable Ismail being hit by a bullet, but he remained unharmed because of his bulletproof vest.
After the police retaliated, the ensuing gunfight ended in the officials arresting three suspects in an injured condition as their companions fled the scene. The injured were taken to a hospital, but they died before getting treatment.
A search of their hideout yielded two prepared suicide jackets, two pistols with bullets, detonators, sketches of sensitive places, mobile phones and explosive materials.
Shaikh said the deceased were identified as Zubair, alias Waqas, Rehmat Ramzan and Faisal Rasheed. He said Zubair was the Karachi chief of the TTP’s Swat chapter.
The police chief said Zubair also facilitated terrorists Mumtaz and Ahmed Munna to break out of the Central Jail Karachi, adding that Ramzan and Rasheed were bombers who were transported to the city from Afghanistan.
SSP Bahadur said Zubair was the mastermind behind Mumtaz and Munna’s prison break, adding that they had leads suggesting that Zubair moved them to Afghanistan after their escape.
He said the killed terrorists and those who had escaped had conducted reconnaissance of important installations in Karachi, adding that the police have sent the seized mobile phones for a forensic examination.
The SSP said that the initial forensic report has confirmed that the terrorists had conducted recce of the city courts, adding that they have video recordings of their gates.
Addl IGP Shaikh said the terrorists had also planned to target a police mobile stationed at the Lyari Expressway checkpoint, where officials from other law enforcement agencies usually carry out snap checking in the evening hours.
He said the terrorists’ next plan suggested that after senior officials would gather at the site of the attack, they would carry out another attack to hit more officials.
Talking about rising street crime in the city, Shaikh said that the overall situation of crime is much better that what it used to be, especially target killings, kidnappings for ransom and extortion cases.
He said that due to extensive efforts by the law enforcement agencies, the situation in Karachi has been normalised, but now the major challenge for the police is street crime.
He added that criminals who are involved in other offences have joined hands with robbers and are committing street crime, especially the snatching of mobile phones. The police chief said the law enforcement department is trying to draw up a strategy to deal with the situation and is also conducting meetings and operations in this regard.
Menace of drugs
During their initial findings, the police have found that 50 per cent of the criminals are in the younger age bracket and are also addicted to drugs, he added.
Shaikh said that during his surprise visits to different police stations of the city, he talked to some criminals who said they committed crime for drugs, adding that they also disclosed the locations from where they purchased drugs.
He said the police have planned a mass operation and see it as their second biggest challenge, adding that he has planned to hold a meeting with the Anti-Narcotics Force and the Excise Police so that a joint strategy could be drawn up to rid the city of the menace of narcotics.
Citing an example of his inspection at the Clifton police station, the additional IGP said he had talked to a youngster arrested for street crime who confessed of five snatchings in District South and also disclosed that he had purchased the weapon from the Hub area for Rs20,000.
Responding to a question, he said he committed crimes for drugs, especially Crystal. The arrested youngster also disclosed that after snatching a mobile phone, he sold it to a drug peddler in Golimar and bought Crystal from him.
Shaikh said the disclosure shocked him, exposing him to the reality that how this menace is damaging the youth, adding that he has directed his subordinates to crack down on these criminal elements.
He said he would not spare any officer if he is found to be working in connivance with drug peddlers, adding that all the officers would lead crackdowns in their respective areas, wherever they receive information regarding the selling of narcotics.