Two suspected target killers killed in an encounter with the police in Karachi on Monday were also involved in the attacks on the office of Express Media group, a top Karachi police official said on Wednesday.
“The cross-matching of ballistics reports has confirmed the two suspects [killed in Monday’s encounter] were involved in the first two attacks on Express Media group last year,” District West and Central Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Javed Odho told reporters at a news conference.
“Their [the suspects’] involvement in the third attack on Express Media group is still unconfirmed,” he added.
Three Express staffers were killed in January this year when unidentified gunmen opened fire on an Express News DSNG van in Karachi’s North Nazimabad locality. The Express Media group office had been attacked twice before, in August and December last year. Two staffers were injured in the second of these attacks.
The two suspects were killed in an exchange of fire with police on Monday, minutes after they allegedly gunned down a shopkeeper in the Nazimabad’s Old Urdu Bazaar area and injured a Dawat-e-Islami member in separate incidents. The suspects were identified as members of Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan, an outfit believed to be involved in over 300 target killings.
Talking to reporters, DIG Odho said police investigators had confirmed the deceased suspects were involved in 17 target killing cases. The majority of their targets had been policemen, he added.
The suspects were also believed to be involved in the target killings of members of rival religious groups, particularly the secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Samiul Haq’s Sindh chapter, the DIG said.
“We are trying to confirm their involvement in several other target killing cases,” the senior police official told reporters. He said the police had some leads against the suspects which they could not share with the media for now.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2014.