Karachi unrest: Four LeJ militants among 53 suspects arrested

At least 80 people have been killed in the city in just 10 days.

Afp/web Desk November 13, 2012

KARACHI: Police in Karachi have arrested four suspected militants who authorities claimed were planning a wave of sectarian attacks in the city, following a bloody three days in which around 40 people were killed. As many as 53 people were arrested on  Tuesday in a sweep by law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

The megalopolis has been in the grip of political and sectarian violence between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shias, and the arrests come just days before the start of Muharram.

Mohammad Aslam Khan, the head of the police anti-extremism cell in southern Sindh province, said the four were members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned Sunni militant group blamed for many deadly attacks on Shias.

Khan said the men were planning strikes during Muharram, when Shiites hold public processions, and police had seized at least 25 kilos of explosives, along with grenades, automatic rifles and pistols.

Of the 40 or so killed in the city of 18 million people over the past three days, 24 were in sectarian or political violence, Khan said. More than half of the victims were Shia.

"The objective of this wave of target killings was to spread sectarian strife in the city as a prelude to Muharram," Khan told AFP.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is regarded as the most extreme Sunni terror group in Pakistan and is accused of killing hundreds of Shias since its emergence in the early 1990s.

It developed close ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban, which ruled in Afghanistan from 1996 until the 2001 US-led invasion.

Pakistan formally banned the group in 2001 and there have been numerous crackdowns with arrests and killings of known Jhangvi operatives over the last 20 years.

A spokesperson for the government paramilitary Rangers told AFP on Tuesday that troops arrested 23 other suspects across the city, including an alleged "notorious" target killer, in a bid to stop targeted killing.

Earlier in the day, the Sindh Rangers carried out targeted operations in nine different areas of Karachi on Tuesday after a week of continuing violence, reported Express News on Tuesday.

Around 53 suspects were arrested during the operations and ammunition was recovered from them.

According to Rangers spokesperson, operations were carried out in Bilal Colony, Shamsi Society, Model Colony, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Awami Colony and Liaquatabad among other areas.

One target killer, Shamsur Rehman, was also arrested during a raid.

According to the police record, around 80 people have been killed in the city in just 10 days. Targeted killings in the city have left over 1,850 people dead in Karachi this year alone .

On Monday, two workers of a religious outfit and two political activists, among 10 people, fell victim to drive-by shootings, while Rangers and police claimed to have arrested more than two dozen suspects during raids in different areas.


Syed | 9 years ago | Reply

these are very "brave" lashkar men. they target innocent harmless people and run away. can someone tell me what school of thought these people are following? obviously they are not shias.

naeem | 9 years ago | Reply

, "the head of the police anti-extremism cell in southern Sindh province" what does it mean very irresponsible way to divided sindh into southern ,westeren eastern,etc ,? can anyone clarify.

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