Arrests in Karachi operation: ‘Most criminals have political affiliations’

Officials seek cooperation from political parties


Zahid Gishkori March 23, 2015
Paramilitary soldiers arrest suspects in a residential area during a targeted operation in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:


More than half of the nearly 6,000 suspected criminals arrested during the ongoing surgical operation in Karachi are affiliated with political parties, counterterrorism officials told The Express Tribune in background interviews.


“Civilian and intelligence agencies have rounded up 5,882 suspected criminals since the launch of the Karachi operation in September 2013. Of them, 55% are associated with political parties,” a senior interior ministry official said.

He complained that lack of cooperation from major political players has long been undermining effective operations against criminals in the city. “We’ve sought cooperation from four political parties to purge Karachi of criminals,” he added.

The political parties have, however, always denied existence of their militant wings and disowned criminals arrested by law enforcers.

The official said criminal elements in Karachi had been divided into three categories: anti-state elements; workers of banned outfits; and their facilitators.

The Rangers in cooperation with IB and ISI have collected the data of all criminals, enlisting 913 militants involved in anti-state activities, he added. “Their cases will be sent to the military courts for sure. It’s time to catch the big fish in Karachi,” he said. “The military and political government are backing the IB, ISI and Rangers.”

The official said around 1,700 suspected criminals were working for one political party while another 1,563 were associated with three other major parties of the city. “All of them are involved in murders, kidnapping, extortion and other criminal activities,” he claimed.

Around 365 militants are working for the Taliban and al Qaeda, he added, and another 1,341 are working with other proscribed outfits. “Karachiites will see more raids in coming weeks because we have irrefutable evidence against many VVIPs either backing or running militant wings.”

Former Sindh police chief Afzal Shigri questioned why these militants were not being put behind bars. “If 55 to 60% criminals have political affiliations, why are law enforcing agencies not disclosing their names? Why is only the MQM [being pointed out]?”

He stressed better coordination among security agencies for results of the Karachi operation.

Malik Habib, who has served as a caretaker interior minister, said the Karachi operation should go on across the board come what may. “A militant is a militant, regardless of his political affiliation,” he said.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said there should be across the board action against criminals regardless of their affiliations. “A criminal is a criminal whether he is found at Nine-Zero, Mardan House, Bilawal House or Kingri House,” he said. “However, it is for the courts to determine the crime or otherwise. No official of a law enforcement agency, no matter what the colour of his uniform is or how glittering his medallions, can be permitted to determine on his own the crime of an individual.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2015.

COMMENTS (2)

IMTIAZ SYED | 6 years ago | Reply The political parties are equally responsible for nurturimg these criminals. These murderers generte funds for the parties and help finance luxries in London and elsewhere. These parties be banned and their leaders charged as abettors and acessories. The corrupt rulers will let everybody go scot free in the long run as birds of same feather flock together.
Saleem | 6 years ago | Reply
The official said around 1,700 suspected criminals were working for one political party while another 1,563 were associated with three other major parties of the city. “All of them are involved in murders, kidnapping, extortion and other criminal activities,” .......
Reading between lines I guess 1,700 belong to MQM and 1,563 to PPP, ANP ASWJ. Bottom line is that those involve in murders, kidnapping, extortion or in any criminal activities deserve no mercy and must be tried and punished. With 17,000 innocent people killed, What may come, it is time that backers of these criminals pay price for what they been doing to Karachi. Whether it is Altaf Hussain or Babar Gauri, Zardari or Zulfiqar Mirza, Wali Khan or Shahi Syed, or whoever been supporting these criminals must be tried as well. it is time to not only bring peace to Karachi but also looted wealth that these criminals have taken to Dubai, Spain, France, UK, USA, etc.
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