KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik held a press conference in Karachi amidst escalated violence due to the ongoing killings in the metropolis on Friday.
Malik presented details of the raids taking place in various areas, adding that the Baldia Town and Katti Pahari areas were the worst hit by violence.
Malik disclosed that 89 suspects have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the target killings. He said that out of those arrested, 12 suspects are Urdu-speaking, 19 are Pathan and three are Baloch. He did not specify the ethnic backgrounds of the remaining suspects.
He also said that the dead include very few politically-affiliated activists.
The minister added that in some places where security forces entered to apprehend the criminal elements, children and elderly residents had been used by them as human shields. He added that security officials have ensured that no civilian lives are lost during the raids.
However, Malik admitted that security forces faced challenges in some areas due to power outages.
He said that intelligence has been increased three fold to monitor the Karachi situation and separate areas have been designated to FC, Rangers and police personnel.
“We want protection for every street of Karachi,” said Malik, adding that information received with the help of Google maps and satellite imaging has been helpful.
He also added that the government the MQM’s move to call off the rally that was scheduled to be help today. He said that he has been communicating with the MQM leadership, and that the party along with ANP has been helping them control the situation.
‘Third element is involved’
“There is someone who is trying to de stabilise Pakistan,” the minister told journalists at the press conference repeatedly. He added that he believes all political parties have realised that there is indeed a “third force” behind the violence.
He said that the terrorists target Karachi as it is the hub of economic activity, and that “enemies are targeting it because it is of strategic importance.”
Appeal to the media
Malik appealed to journalists to stay clear of areas where security forces are conducting raids.
He said that the security officials have been given orders to prevent journalists from entering an area where an operation is taking place.
He urged the media to not sensationalise news and requested that they show more sensitivity to the situation.
“ I request that the media not update the death toll like a cricket score – be a little sensitive.
He added that journalists should take official information that will be provided by the IG SIndh .