Karachi violence: Collusion growing between Taliban, local criminals

Published: July 12, 2011
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Counter-terrorism official sounded alarm on growing level of coordination among two dozen or so extremist groups. PHOTO: INP/FILE

Counter-terrorism official sounded alarm on growing level of coordination among two dozen or so extremist groups. PHOTO: INP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

A counter-terrorism official on Monday sounded the alarm on the growing level of coordination among two dozen or so extremist groups, including the Taliban and local criminal elements in Karachi, which has seen an upsurge in political violence.

“They [Taliban groups] are becoming well-coordinated amongst themselves and amongst local criminals. Sometimes we fear their connectivity is as effective as it is in the tribal areas. It is a very grim situation,” said the official, who deals with the anti-extremism wing of the secret police.

The revelation on Monday came amid a renewed wave of violence in Karachi which has so far claimed several dozen lives in less than a week.

However, the official from the Crime Investigation Department (CID) added that there was no evidence of the Taliban’s involvement in the upsurge in targeted killings, saying it was more for political reasons than anything else.

“They are not directly involved … but the problem is that if there were such a situation, they have a better chance to survive and avoid the radar that we want to keep them under,” he added, requesting anonymity.

He claimed that the criminals weren’t the individuals that the militants relied on for their operations, rather, they were used for intelligence purposes and providing them with shelter. A secret report that the CID sent to the interior ministry appeared to be substantiating the claim by the official.

According to the document obtained by The Express Tribune, around 250 high-profile terrorists from various banned outfits were arrested from the city between 2001 and 2011.

The most [94] were from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which wants to turn Pakistan into a Sunni country through violence.

As many as 40 detained extremists belonged to Harkatul Mujahideen al Alami (HuMAA), another outfit with strong al Qaeda links.

The network commands

Recalling some recent arrests that the CID made from various parts of the troubled city, the official said interrogations from the detained terrorists revealed that they work as a “very well gelled together” network and seek commands from their mentors in the tribal areas.

Militants from four Pakhtun tribes — Mehsud, Wazir, Mohmand and Barki — are known as the affiliates of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the rest belonging to other groups are called the Punjabi Taliban, said the official quoting a terrorist he had interrogated.

He added that for some time now, militants had been operating as a group having a permanent commander for the city and very well-defined command structures to streamline their activities.

They would also divide their strength into small cells in some cases to confuse the counter-terror officials working against them.

He named Misbahuddin, Miraj Mehsud and Akhtar Zaman as the Taliban commanders for Karachi in the past. The first two went back to Waziristan and the third was arrested. He, however, refused to disclose the name of the current Taliban chief for the city, though the official claimed the man was being tracked down.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • dr sad
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:01PM

    This article should be a wake up call for Mohajirs to continue this battle against taleban till all are eliminated from our secular city of Karachi.

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 4:02PM

    @dr sad:
    @dr sad:
    Karachi is not a seperate island, it’s a part of Pakistan that belong to all Pakistanis, who gave refuge to all the Mohajir who came from India.
    :
    Karachi is the city of all Pakistanis, it’s not owned by a single entity and ccan never be owned more so by those who immigrated here

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  • Tanoli.
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:56PM

    AH AH own problems cant solved just tell them since 1980 this killings field is running &
    now something new shame on u.

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  • Salman Orangiwala
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:53PM

    Saad , Karachi was a fisherfolks village the Muhajirs brought it to this state which youare beholding now .

    The road ,infrastucture , commerce and trade were developed by them not by people like you who just drop here to make few quick bucks to spend in their own hometowns .

    If Lahore is for Punjabis , Pehswar for Pathans then Karachi is for Muhajirs .

    Stop the parroting , Karachi is for everybody . We have had enough !

    We welcomed everybody , never objected their coming for livelihood , now these people are trying to brood over us . Enough is enough !

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  • YES
    Jul 13, 2011 - 12:29AM

    @Saad A: Agreed Karachi is a mult-iethnic metropolitan city. Everyone should work together in uplifting this city to more and more prosperity. Today Karachi can be very proud of all groups including AghaKhanis, Pakhtuns, Punjabis, Muhajirs, Sindis, Christians etc etc that are working together. But, the fact still remains and need to be respected that without the Muhajirs there would have been No Pakistan. They were the elites that created Pakistan and built Karachi for everyone, bringing good news of freedom for all Pakistanis. By the way, Muhajirs is not a race, they are made up of all other ethnicities too including Pathans, Punjabis, Christians and other races etc etc that migrated with great sacrifices to this newly formed country called ‘Pakistan’ that was almost a barren land with no industries. The Muhajirs with their great sacrifice and love for Pakistan along with all other ethnic groups built Pakistan. They were the pioneers in building Karachi for the benefit of Pakistan and everyone in Pakistan whether Sindi, AghaKhani, Punjabi, Pakhtun, Balochi, Christians etc etc or any other race etc etc etc for everybody to contribute.
    So to say anyone gave them refuge is bogus. So brother, lets get rid of ethnic arrogance, lets not put any one down and live like one constructive family patriotically and not with bigotry, as thats the only way to peaceful prosperous existance, otherwise, the enemies of Pakistan will be too happy to see the country foolishly divided. Pakistan Zindabad!

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  • Jim Beam
    Jul 13, 2011 - 2:23AM

    Tighten the noose around all madressahs, the main breeding ground from where such ideology is perpetrated and where future-terrorists are groomed in the “name” of religion.

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  • Jul 14, 2011 - 1:15PM

    @Salman Orangiwala:
    Karachi being a part of Sind, belongs to Sindhis first and then to all Pakistanis, inclduing those how immigrated and now calim to be the owners of the city. Karachi wasn’t a village my dear before the partition, it was a city and we all Pakistan Baloch, Sindhis, Pashtoons and Punjabis have contributed to her development. Any Pakistani can live in any city whether Peshawar or Lahore, but none is allowed to claim it belongs to them specially those who immigrated and call themselves by an ethnicity first then by being a Pakistani..

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