A day after the Lyari bloodbath, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah directed the Sindh Police and Rangers to prepare a comprehensive contingency plan for conducting a surgical operation in the troubled neighbourhood of Karachi.
Rival gangs fought bloody battles in Lyari on Wednesday, leaving 19 civilians – among them 10 women and four children – dead and 50-plus wounded. Eight alleged gangsters were also killed in raids conducted by security forces.
The violence erupted when a brother of Ghaffar Zikri, the head honcho of a powerful gang allied with the Baba Ladla group, was killed in an alleged encounter with the law enforcers.
Presiding over the law and order meeting held at the CM House in the wake of the clashes, Shah said that any delay in action would cause a negative impact on the achievements of the ongoing targeted operation in the city.
“Enough is enough! The government will not tolerate the killing of innocent people,” he said. He directed the law-enforcement agencies to find out a way to fight the criminals. “Please issue the red warrants against the heads of the fighting gangs who have managed to escape abroad,” he directed the additional chief secretary and the home secretary.
After the meeting, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said the government was preparing a fool-proof security plan for Lyari. “The meeting also recommended closing all of the city’s entry and exit points being used by the gangsters,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Syed Mumtaz Shah, Sindh IG Police Iqbal Mehmood and Additional IG Karachi Shahid Hayat briefed the meeting about how the targeted operation has resulted in decreasing crime and violence, except for Lyari.
Lyari was gripped with tension and fear as markets, educational institutions and other workplaces remained closed on Thursday. Heavy contingents of police and Rangers patrolled the areas.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people participated in the funeral prayers of all those killed in the retaliatory violence.
The police have registered an FIR of the incident at the Kalakot police station against Baba Ladla and his accomplices. Case No. 97/2014 was registered on behalf of state with sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Explosives Act.
According to Sub Inspector Malik Riaz, the police records show that 13 people were killed, which is half of the media-reported death toll of 26.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2014.
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