Despite a complete strike in Karachi for the Yaum-e-Soag announced by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, violence continued in the city as police and Rangers claimed to have arrested 11 suspected target killers.
Six more people were killed on Tuesday, raising the total death toll to 111 from eight days of unabated violence in Karachi.
‘Target killers’ arrested
SSP Central Asim Qaimkhani and SSP South Naeem Sheikh presented four men at a press conference who, they said, were members of the ‘slaughtering squad’ of a criminal gang. They said that men had confessed to abducting and killing over a dozen people after sexually assaulting them. They also said that they are now looking for a prime suspect, who they believe is the chief of the ‘beheading squad’.
Qaimkhani and Sheikh said that the men were arrested late on Tuesday night after a police encounter in North Nazimabad. Police identified the suspects as Shahnawaz Baloch, Rafiq, Mustafa Baloch and Naeem Jan.
The suspects, police said, have also confessed to being involved in 13 cases of murder, attempt to murder and abduction. Police have recovered weapons and drugs from their possession.
According to SHO Anzar Alam, the men belong to Lyari’s Akram Baloch group, which is being run by Akram’s nephews Sameer and Afzal and is a rival of the now defunct Peoples Amn Committee.
“The men have admitted that they had killed members from rival gangs after kidnapping them from Lyari and surrounding areas,” Alam said. The men, he said, were wanted by Kalakot, Napier, Chakiwara and Risala police and are currently in custody of Kalakot police.
Alam said that in all 13 cases, the men abducted the victims, killed them and stuffed their slaughtered bodies into gunny bags. “Shahnawaz and Rafiq sexually abused the abductees, while Sameer beheaded them after injecting drugs into his body,” he said.
Other members of the gang kidnapped people and made videos while they were being tortured. These videos, Alam said, were found from the mobile phones of the arrested men. In another raid, alleged target killer Ejaz Chohto was arrested from Tipu Sultan Road under the jurisdiction of Baldia Police Station. SHO Haq Nawaz said the arrested accused is a political worker and was involved in nearly 50 cases of heinous crimes, including target killings.
Meanwhile, Saeedabad police also claimed that it had apprehended a target killer, identified as Abul Ghaffar, said to be affiliated with the MQM.
During interrogation, Ghaffar told police that he had kidnapped Yasir from a market in Saeedabad and handed the hostage over to Aziz alias CIA, Imran and Yusuf, who also belonged to the MQM. Half an hour later, they killed Yasir and dumped his body in Rang Gaar area of Saeedabad.
During separate raids in Gulberg and Ferozabad, five more suspected target killers were arrested, sources within Sindh Rangers confirmed. Four of the suspects were arrested from Gulberg but their identities could not be ascertained.
Another suspect was arrested on Tariq Road while trying to escape after attacking a man named Saadullah.
Meanwhile, there was no respite in the continuous killing spree in Karachi as three bodies were found from separate areas in the city while two more people were gunned down on Tuesday.
Two bodies were found separately within the jurisdiction of Pak Colony Police Station. Both bodies bore torture marks and bullet wounds in the head. Their hands and legs were tied with ropes.
A body stuffed in a gunny bag was found from Qasba Colony in Orangi Town. A note, saying ‘[do you] want peace or war?’, was found with the body, police said, adding that the man was strangled to death.
Two people, identified as Faisal and Bahadur Ali, were shot dead in separate incidents of target killing in Malir City and Shah Latif, respectively.
An activist of a Sindhi nationalist party Allah Jatoi was gunned down in Bilal Colony in Korangi. DSP Fakhrul Islam said Jatoi, associated with Sindh Dost Ittehad, was shot outside his home by armed men riding motorcycles.
(With additional reporting by Salman Siddiqui in Karachi)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.