Targeted operation in Karachi to escalate in coming days: Interior Ministry

ISLAMABAD: Ongoing targeted operation in Karachi against criminal gangs, extortionists and terrorists will escalate in coming days, said a senior official of Interior Ministry on Wednesday.

The official echoed views of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who told National Assembly recently that the first phase of the Karachi operation was nearing its end and the second and third phases would be harsher.

According to sources, paramilitary force Pakistan Rangers had carried out about 1000 targeted actions in Karachi arresting well over 400 alleged target killers, extortionists and kidnappers. More arrests are expected in the next few days.

Law and order situation in Karachi is a two decade old festering issue and is one of the main challenges for the PML-N government formed after general elections on May 11.

Green signal for the targeted operation was given in a special federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Karachi on September, 4.

The government is satisfied that the number of target killings in Karachi has substantially decreased since start of the campaign but it understands that days ahead could be difficult.

The federal government is satisfied with the level of coordination in efforts of Rangers, Karachi police and civil and military intelligence agencies as these outfits continue to chase
the criminals.

However, matter of concern for the government is that since the start of the operation in Karachi, over 250 terrorists had entered North Waziristan in small groups.

In the ongoing saga, the situation took a tense turn when speaking at a press conference at the Central Police Office in Karachi on Tuesday, Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat announced “We have arrested an MQM activist, Syed Kazim Abbas Rizvi, along with
three others who killed Naimat Ali Randhawa because he was going to take up the case of slain television reporter Wali Babar Khan.”

Randhawa was shot dead last Thursday night while going home along with his son Tauqeer Ali Randhawa, who was also injured in the attack by armed motorcyclists.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has denied the allegations while urging the federal government to take notice of the situation.

The federal government has time and again stressed that the operation will remain apolitical.

The government is seeking sweeping amendments in Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, giving more powers to Rangers and police in Karachi to deal with some of the most hardened criminals.

The amendments will have a smooth sailing in the parliament as all major parties in parliament eagerly want peace to prevail in Karachi – Pakistan’s largest financial and commercial hub.