Lyari gangsters showed stiff resistance to security forces operation using rifles, rocket launchers and hand grenades. Exchange of fire continued throughout the day and 11 people were killed in clashes.
|Policemen entering the Lyari area for participation in the operation against criminals, here on Saturday|
Violence continues unabated in the trouble-torn Lyari locality of Karachi, as security forces continue their operation against elements described as gangsters. By Saturday evening violence in Lyari had claimed more than fifteen lives in two days, including those of a local PPP leader and the SHO of the Civil Lines police stations. PPP’s Malik Muhammad Khan had been gunned down on Thursday while leading a protest against the conviction of the prime minister by the Supreme Court. Several other people, including at least three police officers, were injured as fierce battles ensued between security personnel and ‘gangsters’ in which heavy weaponry including rockets were used. Also, PPP leader Nabeel Gabol escaped injury after a grenade was lobbed at his convoy on Friday as he was returning from Malik’s funeral. As the violence seems to be spiralling out of control leaving a trail of death and destruction, the security forces and government officials say the operation is succeeding. However, the precise truth behind these statements is difficult to assess at the moment given that Lyari, for now, is a virtually ‘no go’ zone. The situation may prove difficult to douse easily, mainly because the ‘gang war’ situation is further complicated by the involvement of political factors. Various gangs in Lyari are backed by different political parties and, indeed, have been nurtured by them through the years.
|Police personnel in civilian dress taking part in an operation against criminals in Lyari area of Karachi|
Lyari area of Karachi gave the look of a war theatre on Friday as strong contingents of Police, Frontier Constabulary and the Crime Investigation Department’s anti terrorists cell launched the search operation in the troubled locality. Heavily armed men posted stiff resistance to well equipped law enforcement personnel who made an attempt to advance into the narrow and deep lanes for search and crackdown on the gangsters.
Horrifying scenes were witnessed as unidentified men threw hand grenades and fired rockets at law enforcement agencies during the operation, injuring policemen and civilians. Criminals atop high rises continued incessant firing using latest weapons. The scenes of fighting shown on TV shocked the people and they are openly questioning where is the writ of the Provincial and Federal Governments. The operation was launched in the PPP strong hold after President Asif Ali Zardari presided over a meeting in Karachi that exclusively discussed the law and order situation in Lyari. The President gave directions to the Chief Minister and the IG Police that law and order in Lyari must be maintained at all costs without fear or favour. Lyari has become a den of criminals and crime zones have cropped up with the passage of time. They have established their strong holds and the common citizens worried about their security are unable to resist them. Arms and narcotics are being smuggled into the lawless Lyari and the gangs are not ready to surrender their areas of influence to the security forces. This situation is damaging the image of Pakistan as a lawless country. Karachi city is already plagued by target killings, kidnapping for ransom and political parties lust for grabbing more and more areas under their influence. Senior PPP leader Nabil Gabol, having strong following in Lyari was also made target by miscreants when his car was attacked but he fortunately escaped unhurt. The business centre of the country has been made hostage by the law breakers and we would urge the political leadership and particularly the Interior Minister to take the situation very seriously and the clean up operation be taken to the logical conclusions otherwise it would go out of control.
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