KARACHI: The release of hundreds of men rounded up in search operations give the impression that the police have not done their job. But, if the chief of police is to be believed, the actual men who matter are behind bars.
About 445 men - half of those caught in search operations - have been cleared by the courts for a lack of evidence. But then they were swept up in the raids and picked up as a precaution. What perhaps counts is that nearly 29 alleged target killers will be facing trial.
“The difference between now and before is that people are less scared,” Additional IG Saud Mirza told The Express Tribune. “Now people can leave their houses without fear, in fact it is the criminals who are scared now.”
The raids began on the night between August 23 and 24 and continue. According to police statistics, about 29 target killers and another 653 suspects were apprehended and 167 weapons were seized in the 985 raids from August 23 to September 4.
Mirza said 29 of the arrested men are suspected of being involved in over 30 target killing cases. “Here I want to mention that the release of target killers with weapons and men from different criminal groups or mafias will be very hard and they are under trial,” explained Mirza. These men and other suspects belong to politico-ethnic groups as well as different gambling, drug, land and extortion mafias.
The AIG neither declined nor admitted to the allegations that the majority of the arrested men were released. He said that such releases are very possible as law enforcers arrest people on suspicion of involvement in crimes during such operations and raids as a precaution. “The law allows us to arrest people who we suspect and then they can be released if they are proven innocent, but this does not happen with target killers and criminals.”
Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan dismissed any rumours that the suspects were being released without court appearances. “In order to prove an arrest there must be an FIR registered. If an FIR is registered then the suspect must be brought to court no matter what,” he contended. “So, how is it possible that the police did not produce the suspects in court?”
“There are greater chances of a suspect being released if his offence is open to bail. In non-bailable offences releases are quite difficult. I do not think that courts would release anyone accused of a non-bailable offence.”
For their part, the Rangers claim to have nabbed nearly 236 suspects and 327 weapons in operations in about 30 areas. The highest number of arrests were made in New Karachi, Lyari, Pak Colony, Korangi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Surjani, Mehmoodabad, Malir, Khokhrapar, Bin Qasim, Liaquatabad, Kharadar, Old City and Old Sabzi Mandi areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.