The law enforcers made their 50th raid at the house of Lyari’s Uzair Baloch on Sunday but, once again, they returned empty-handed.
Uzair, whose arrest warrant was issued a few months ago for the murder of Lyari’s notorious gangster Arshad Pappu, was last seen in Lyari after the killing of his party leader, Zafar Baloch. “The law enforcers know Uzair is not in Lyari,” admitted an insider. “What do they want to show by conducting a raid at his residence each time?” Meanwhile, the police and Rangers continued their operation in the neighbourhood while a few suspected gangsters were also reportedly arrested.
Four ‘gangsters’ killed
Four alleged gangsters were killed in an alleged encounter with the law enforcers in Lyari on Sunday. The reports of their deaths, however, did little to calm the volatile situation in the vicinity.
According to law enforcers, the encounter occurred in the Dubai Chowk neighbourhood of Lyari, the area dominated by notorious gangster, Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla. This is one of the areas most disturbed by the ongoing violence between the gangs over the last couple of weeks.
The violence escalated again on Saturday, following the killing of Kareem Baloch, a close aide to Baba Ladla. Kareem was reportedly killed by members of the rival Faisal Pathan group. Meanwhile, a police official and three other people were also killed as a result of the clashes on Saturday.
Police officials claimed that the encounter between the gangsters and law enforcers occurred as the violence between members of the two main groups, Baba Ladla’s and Uzair’s, continued. “As we reached the site to conduct the operation, they attacked us with heavy artillery,” SHO Sajjad Mangi told The Express Tribune. In the retaliatory fire by the law enforcers, four gangsters were killed.
The deceased were identified as Muhammad Hakeem, alias Chohta Jhengu, Umer alias Jawar, Shabbir, alias Goga and Mohsin, alias Bawa. The deceased gangsters, Hakeem and Umer, were associated with the Baba Ladla group while the remaining two were associated with the Faisal Pathan group of Uzair Baloch. DSP Shakeel Ahmed said that the deceased were wanted by the police in a number of cases of crime, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, police encounters and attacks on law enforcers.
On the other hand, insiders told The Express Tribune that the gangsters were killed in a fake encounter. “They were killed in an internal gang war, not by the police or Rangers,” said a man, privy to the developments. He added that the police had taken their bodies and claimed to have killed them in an encounter to show off their performance.
Caught in the middle
In the middle of the unending rocket and grenade attacks between rival groups and the ongoing targeted operation of the law enforcement agencies are the residents of Lyari, who have been confined to their homes out of fear for their lives.
“We found the gates of the mosque shut when we tried to leave after offering prayers,” said a resident of Lyari’s Phool Patti Lane. “The gangsters ordered us to remain inside the mosque.”
The violence between the members of Baba Ladla and Uzair Baloch groups has been going on in Lyari since the targeted killing of outlawed Peoples Amn Committee leader, Zafar Baloch, in September. Since then, more than two dozen gangsters, belonging to both groups have been killed while the two main operational commanders, Sheraz Comrade and Jabbar Jhengu have disappeared. They have been reportedly arrested by law enforcement agencies.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2013.