The residents stayed indoors as the sound of gunshots echoed in the neighbourhood and shopkeepers closed their shops. The matriculation exam scheduled for Friday was also cancelled.
According to sources, the police was getting help from the Arshad Pappu gang and its operational commander, Ghaffar Zikri, to fight the Baba Ladla gang or banned Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) during the operation in Lyari. But the police deny these claims.
As Lyari remained in a whirlpool of chaos, MNA Nabeel Gabol claimed that he had asked the Rangers to intervene but they refused to do so.
However while talking to The Express Tribune, Rangers Brig. Waseem Ayub said that no one from the government had asked them to step in and take control of the situation in Lyari. Ayub said that the current operation was being carried out with an ulterior motive for those involved and the end result will amount to nothing. While talking about the police, Brig. Ayub said that they were not organised, did not have a strategy or a list for targeted raids, like his force. “We want to go to Lyari,” he said. “But we will not be able to do anything given the way the police is handling the situation.”
District South DIG Shaukat Ali Shah said that the issues of unity of command often erupt when the police and Rangers have to work together. He added that a joint meeting of the police and Rangers was scheduled to be held today. The newly appointed Lyari SP, Sarfaraz Nawaz, said that the police was able to gain access to many parts of Lyari with minimum retaliation. “Today’s operation was successful,” he claimed. “We managed to arrest many gangsters.”
Sindh IG Mushtaq Shah also paid a visit to Lyari to check out what was happening. While talking to the media, Shah said that the police had arrested several suspects and had seized weapons from them. He added that initially the police faced a violent resistance where the suspects would throw hand grenades, but now they had backed down.
Meanwhile, eight people, including a wanted gangster and police officer, were killed on Friday, while over two dozen men were injured in a 15-hour-long shootout between the police and gangsters.
A gunfight began with the police at around 5:30am outside Ghas Mandi. Two men, 30-year-old Fida Hussain 25-year-old Shoaib, were gunned down in Kumhar Wara. Another man identified as 25-year-old Abdul Ghani, was shot dead in Jhatpat Market.
A former footballer and Karachi Electric Supply Company employee, 50-year-old Asif Usman and a sepoy of the Federal Investigation Agency, Ghulam Dastagir were killed in Kalakot. Around seven men were injured when unidentified men threw hand grenades in Agra Taj Colony. Abdul Hameed, a police constable, was gunned down in Old Golimar while another constable, identified as Shahnawaz, was injured when unidentified men threw a hand grenade at a police mobile in Pak Colony.
An alleged gangster, Naeem Lahoti, was killed in crossfire with the police near Lyari Degree College. According to Crime Investigation Department’s SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan, Lahoti was wanted by the police in many cases, including for the murder of Pakistan Peoples Party’s city area president, Hassan Soomro.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2012.
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