The crime rate has gone down in Karachi by at least 70 per cent, a top police official announced on Saturday as the metropolis marked two years since an operation was launched to purge it of miscreants.
“Kidnappings, extortion, targeted killings and acts of terrorism have gone down by at least 70 per cent in Karachi,” Additional Inspector General (AIG) Mushtaq Mahar, the chief of police in Karachi, told reporters at a news conference.
“Credit for that goes to the police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies,” he said as he vowed that law enforcers would press ahead with the Karachi operation until the remaining 30 per cent of criminals were also arrested.
Marking the second anniversary of the operation, AIG Mahar drew attention towards the law enforcers who laid down their lives to wipe out miscreants from Karachi. “Some 232 police officials have sacrificed their lives in the two years of the Karachi operation,” he said.
Another 27 Rangers also gave their lives in the line of duty over the last two years, added Colonel Amjad, a senior member of the paramilitary force. “We are determined [to fight] despite the martyrdom of our jawans,” he told reporters.
“The good thing is that the results of the Karachi operation are very positive,” Col Amjad said. “Everyone is happy and wants it to continue.”
Despite law enforcers’ claims of driving crime and unrest in Karachi down by more than two-thirds, the city still witnessed some major terrorist attacks over the last two years. These include the grisly Safoora Goth massacre where some 45 members of the Ismaili community were gunned down aboard a bus.
Another high-profile incident was the assassination of Crime Investigation Department (CID) Superintendent Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam a few months after the operation began. Aslam lost his life in a blast targeting his convoy on January 9, 2014.
Two paramilitary soldiers were also killed and four others wounded in a suicide attack on a Rangers patrol vehicle on March 20 this year. A blast targeted the mosque of the Dawoodi Bohra community the same day, killing at least two and leaving several others wounded.
Targeted attacks, while less frequent, also continued during the two years of the Karachi operation. The son of Jafria Alliance Pakistan chief Allama Abbas Kumaili was gunned on September 6, 2014. Four days later, the son-in-law of Jamia Binoria SITE superintendent Mufti Naeem was shot dead.
The vice-principal of the Jinnah Medical and Dental College’s student affairs wing, US national Debra Lobo was shot and seriously injured in April this year. More recently, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Rashid Godil was critically wounded after unidentified armed men opened fire at his vehicle on August 18 this year.
During his news conference, AIG Mahar admitted that street crime is still a challenge for the police.
Meanwhile, the traders’ community appreciated the ongoing operation.
“The business community feels much secure due to the rapid response by law enforcers,” said industrialist Siraj Qasim Teli. “We are ready to bear the expense, particularly related to the education of martyred police and Rangers jawans,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2015.