Karachi operation likely to be scaled up

Published: June 26, 2016
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Sindh Rangers. PHOTO: AFP

Sindh Rangers. PHOTO: AFP

RAWALPINDI / ISLAMABAD: Karachi saw an uptick in violence after a relatively long hiatus, though a targeted operation has been ongoing. Alarmed by the upsurge in violence, especially the targeted killing of a qawwali maestro and kidnapping of a top judge’s son, the prime minister has given the go-ahead for scaling up the operation in the provincial metropolis.

Nawaz Sharif gave the nod of approval on Friday after getting input from senior officials of law enforcement and security agencies, The Express Tribune has learnt from credible sources. The prime minister approved the stepping up of the targeted operation in the city where normalcy has been restored as a result of the ongoing operation. He also directed the officials to put in place fool-proof security measures, especially during the last days of the fasting month of Ramazan and Eidul Fitr, to maintain peace.

Rangers vow indiscriminate action in Karachi

The prime minister, sources said, was briefed by law enforcement and security officials on different factors involving the Karachi operation. They particularly mentioned suspected activities of a political party’s militant wing, ‘remnants’ of banned sectarian extremist and militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and the role of ‘hostile’ intelligence agencies of neighbouring countries. The Express Tribune tried to approach Sindh police chief AD Khowaja, but he was not available for comments on what was discussed in Friday’s meeting.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is scheduled to travel to Karachi today (Sunday) to preside over another important meeting on law and order. Important decisions related to up scaling the Karachi operation are likely to be taken during Nisar’s visit to Karachi where he would be meet the chief minister, home minister and Rangers’ director general.

However, a senior security official privy to the matter told The Express Tribune that questionable statements made by senior leaders of a Karachi-based political party in the wake of acclaimed qawwal Amjad Sabri’s killing have been taken into account.  Soon after the qawwali maestro was shot dead in a targeted attack on Wednesday, these political leaders claimed on national media that Sabri had been receiving life threats.

Surprisingly however, Sarwat Sabri, the elder brother of the slain qawwal, denied his brother had received any threats. “Something is fishy,” the official said requesting not to be named in the report because he is not officially authorised to speak to the media on record. “The matter needs to be dug deeper,” he said hinting that Sabri’s murder might have political connotations.

Rangers launch WhatsApp helpline

Apart from Sabri’s murder, the kidnapping of Awais Ali Shah, the son of Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, and the sudden conflagrations at three factories in Karachi in a day have raised concerns. “This cannot be a coincidence,” a source said while speaking about the fire incidents on Friday. Investigators are learnt to be probing if there were any similarities or linkages in Friday’s blazes and the 2012 deadly fire at a garment factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town in which more than 250 workers were burnt alive.

Sources said that on the recommendations of law enforcement and security agencies, the prime minister authorised pre-emptive detentions in Karachi in order to maintain peace in the city. The Sindh home and the Centre would not interfere, and the Rangers-led security apparatus would not require any permission before possible high-profile arrests. Officials claim a multipronged strategy is being followed to tighten noose around terrorists in Karachi.

Nisar defends Rangers, police

The interior minister, meanwhile, defended the performance of the law enforcement agencies, including the paramilitary Rangers and police, in Karachi. “There is absolutely no question mark on their performance,” he said. “The target killing of Amjad Sabri and kidnapping of Owais Shah are aimed at spreading terror,” he added. But this doesn’t mean people should start questioning the performance of their security institutions.

Violent incidents like these can’t be stopped even in the United States where a man shot dead 49 people within a matter of minutes, Nisar said while speaking to local journalists in Kalar Syedan in Rawalpindi on Saturday. “In my opinion, the Rangers and police have done a good not only in Karachi but in the entire country to counter terrorism,” he added.    “We want to eliminate the terrorism from the country and it could only be done with a commitment instead of questioning the performance of the Rangers and police,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Saleem
    Jun 26, 2016 - 9:55AM

    An advise to federal, please stop making headlines and learn to deliver. Rather than lip service why no steps have been taken to scale up the operation? Why the police officer who is not signing Zubair Baloch JIT has not been sacked and put in jail? While media been showing pages of JIT which are not included in what was submitted in court, why the courts is mum on that issue and why Chief Justice has not taken any action against judge of that court?

    There is chronic issue of prosecution as rangers picks up criminals and they get bail through courts, which are merely acting as revolving door, and they get back on streets. Why no action been taken to improve prosecution? For expediency, why not more cases are pushed through military courts?

    People demand action and any obstacle, created by provincial government or any political party, etc. must be dealt with an iron hand and removed. It is high time for PML (N) government to deliver or hit the road.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Jun 26, 2016 - 12:21PM

    Just ban MQM already. They are doing no good for Karachi..Recommend

  • Rustam
    Jun 26, 2016 - 1:29PM

    Significant normalcy has been restored in Karachi because of the ongoing operation by Sind Rangers. The question to ponder – while Karachites gained tremendously, who had lost? In fact the result has created a perception among the Karachites that as the main culprit was a political party’s militant wing who was subdued in the operation, the successes achieved is the most detrimental for the party. Therefore, the new wave of the violence by it for undermining the success achieved so far.Recommend

  • Omar Sadiq
    Jun 26, 2016 - 2:14PM

    First, why was it (the operation) scaled down in the first place?
    Second, why are there still militant wings left in any political organizations??
    Third, all karachi residents, except for a few hardcore mqm militants and backers, know who is behind 85-90% of the problems of Karachi; why can’t this organization be taken care of permanently???
    Fourth, why can’t we sign extradition treaties with countries if we don’t have any in place now????
    Fifth, why can’t we get other countries to hand over terrorists we want, but we are so quick to hand over any person to other countries when they say they want certain people, who they consider as terrorists?????
    Sixth, if the police is so incompetant and just there to harass people and take bribes, why can’t this department be either rectified or another permanent solution be deployed in its place instead??????Recommend

  • Aisha
    Jun 26, 2016 - 3:28PM

    @PakPower:
    Why do we say MQM? The FIR listed the origin as Urdu speaking but not confirm other features? Recommend

  • Voiceless Pakistani
    Jun 26, 2016 - 3:31PM

    As long as the mega sindhi corrupts and

    criminals from sania naz baloch,

    shah jahan baloch, javed nagori

    to addi, tappi, zulfiqar mirza,

    sharjreel memon, jam khan

    shoro and other mass

    sindhi looters who have

    looted and destroyed Karachi

    are not arrested, prosecuted

    and rigorously sentemced

    with recovery of looted

    money there will be

    no lasting peace

    and progress

    in Karachi.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Jun 26, 2016 - 4:32PM

    @PakPower:

    The whole reason why this operation is gradually failing is because it’s only focused on MQM, not across the board – it’s empowering other more dangerous militants in Karachi now that their competition has been cleared. And by the way Amjad Sabri was a die-hard MQM supporter and sang at their events.Recommend

  • Saad
    Jun 26, 2016 - 4:44PM

    18 amendment does not allow this interference. Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jun 26, 2016 - 6:41PM

    @PakPower: MQM has already facing umofficial ban……However, until Rangers water hydrants and Petrol pumps and extortion is not stopped peace will not return to Karachi…..Recommend

  • Javaid Randhawa
    Jun 26, 2016 - 7:58PM

    I ask fellow country men two questions: 1-Do we have no honest man to rule province as it looks all Sind is corrupt from head to toe. 2- Is there any orphan army like Pakistan that it is in war without nation backing. Recommend

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