A few hours after announcing a grand showdown whereby political parties would be asked to own or expel terrorists detained by the government, the Sindh government announced that an all-parties conference would be convened after Eid.
Earlier on Thursday, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon announced a meeting of all political parties to not only discuss the city’s law and order situation, but also brief them about detained target killers belonging to their parties.
“During the recent targeted action, the police arrested suspects affiliated with different political parties,” said Memon addressing a press conference along with additional inspector-general Saud Mirza. “We will ask the parties to either own or expel these terrorists,” he said. Official sources said that the delay was due to the parties’ (especially the MQM and ANP) refusal to sit together at the conference.
During the two-day surgical operation carried out by the police and law enforcement agencies, around 165 suspects including target killers, extortionists, land-grabbers and drug-peddlers were arrested, Memon said while briefing the media at the new Sindh Secretariat.
“It would be premature to give the exact numbers of target killers and their affiliation with political parties,” he said.
A total of 160 raids were conducted in different sensitive areas of the city with 75 suspects arrested on the first day, August 23, and 90 arrested the following day, Memon said.
On the first day, 79 heavy automatic guns, 606 rounds, 20 kilogrammes of heroin and 50 kilogrammes of hashish were recovered from the arrested people while 18 weapons including Kalashnikovs, TT pistol and 182 rounds were recovered on the second day, he added.
Meanwhile, Memon said that no torture cells were found from any area.
Dismissing the lone target killing of a lawyer in the city as a case of personal enmity, Memon said that no target killings have happened since the operation was launched.
He said that all raids were conducted with information provided by intelligence agencies, adding that the government has decided to reduce the exit and entry points of the city to curb the smuggling of weapons into Karachi.
Acquittal of terrorists
Regarding acquittal of terrorists, additional IG Sindh Saud Mirza said the police was considering formulating a law to provide protection to witnesses of criminal cases.
He said that judiciary asked for independent witness account and released suspects on the benefit of doubt because in most cases, statements recorded by police officials were considered fake.
“We are also considering suggesting legislation at par with narcotics law under which independent eyewitness account is not mandatory,” he said. Meanwhile, pressure is mounting to release the terrorists involved in the police van attack in Chakra Goth according to Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik- but the pressure was not going to be accepted, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.