KARACHI: Nearly two years after it began, the Sindh Rangers on Monday said that the first stage of the ongoing security operation in Karachi had been completed.
The Karachi operation had been kicked off by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on September 5, 2013, to root out crime and terrorism from the megalopolis.
In a statement released early on Monday, the Rangers said that with the first phase over, they are now preparing to start phase two, which is expected to commence from August 14, 2015.
“Pakistan Rangers Sindh successfully completed the stage-I of the operation and are well prepared to start stage-II from August 14, 2015 till the time it is successfully completed.”
This is the first time that the paramilitary force have officially admitted that the operation, which has so far lasted for over 23 months, would be stage wise.
“Stage-II will be more severe than stage-I as the main task is to hunt down land grabbers, target killers, extortionists, kidnappers, terrorists.”
It is not clear how stage-II differs from stage-I given that land grabbers, target killers, extortionists, kidnappers and terrorists had been the focus when the operation first began in 2013.
“Pakistan Rangers Sindh is committed not to spare any criminal… Do not worry even if the criminals are very powerful because Pakistan Rangers Sindh are more powerful,” the statement added.
According to a performance report released in July, the Rangers had claimed to have conducted 5,795 raids during which they had apprehended 10,353 suspects and recovered 7,312 weapons and 34,8978 rounds of ammunition. Prominent among the raids conducted were the ones on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters Nine-Zero and the offices of Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).
The report added that a total of 826 terrorists, 334 target killers, 296 extortionists were arrested during this period. The Rangers also expanded their sphere against kidnappers, arrested 82 abductors and securing the release of 49 people from their captivity.
The Rangers also traded fire with criminals, engaging in a total of 224 “encounters”. In these ‘encounters’, Rangers said that they had killed 364 suspected criminals and arrested 213 others.
The report further claimed that target killing in the city had dropped drastically by over 80%, with attacks dropping to under 10 in June 2015 after having peaked at 73 in December 2013.
MQM withdraws strike call
The MQM on Monday took back its call for a shutter down strike across Sindh on Monday over the what it called the ‘extra-judicial killing’ of a party worker, Muhammad Hashim.
The move came after assurance from Director-General Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar that the deceased worker, Mohammed Hashim’s killers will be brought to justice.
In the wee hours of Monday, the MQM had called for a shutter down strike in protest of the party worker’s killing. According to the party, Hashim, a member of the MQM media cell and Unit 164 Liaquatabad, had been arrested and taken to an unknown location while he on his way home from Nine Zero on May 6.