KARACHI: A police officer was killed and a suspected gangster arrested in an early morning faceoff between the police and gangsters in Lyari on Thursday.
During the exchange of fire and use of heavy weapons between the two sides, one of the head constables of the Crime Investigation Department, 51-year-old Altaf Hussain, was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near the advancing police party.
The Anti-Terrorism Cell DSP Anwar Lodhi, who was leading the police force, was also injured in the attack.
Police later arrested one of the wounded suspects, Ayaz Baloch, from the civil hospital.
“We will not let them escape this time,” said SSP Aslam Khan, referring to members of the banned Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) who are on the run. “One by one, we’ll get all of them and we will wipe them out!”
However, the main suspects, including Uzair Baloch, Sheraz Comrade and Rashid Bengali, could not be apprehended.
According to SP Nasir Aftab, the police went into the narrow lanes of Lyari around 3am to arrest Rashid Bengali, who is wanted in numerous criminal cases, but faced tough resistance from armed men. “The encounter went on for 45 minutes but we failed to arrest Bengali.”
The late-night police action was part of a series of targeted raids being conducted against the gangsters who are allegedly linked with the PAC.
DIG Shaukat Ali Shah said the police was tightening the noose around the criminals holed up in Lyari. “The police have entered in all areas of Lyari in the the hunt for criminals except for some enclaves where there is fierce resistance.” Singo Lane is one such area, he said. “It will take some time but we will take complete control of the place.”
The number of police officers has been increased in Lyari with the deployment of policemen from different stations.
Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, said that the operation was being conducted against criminals and it will not be stopped until the situation is brought under control. Shah denied the notion that the police is taking action on behest of the coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which has persistently accused the PAC of taking extortion from traders.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.