Karachi: 2 policemen killed in `anti-Taliban operation`
KARACHI: Two policemen were killed and seven other law-enforcers, including the chief of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell and two officials of an intelligence agency, were wounded on Thursday in what the police said was a crackdown on pro–Taliban militants at Sohrab Goth. The police said that more than 79 suspects were arrested and a sizeable number of sophisticated weapons were seized following a pre-dawn raid on the hideout of the terrorists belonging to certain banned religious outfits. None of the suspects, however, was hurt in the operation.
Witnesses said the AVCC SSP, Farooq Awan, and two officers of an intelligence agency reached the spot in a private car in the small hours of Thursday, while a heavy contingent of police waited some 100 metres away.
They said SSP Awan and the intelligence officers were encircled by the suspected terrorists as they got down from their car.
The witnesses said the terrorists held the three law-enforcers hostage at gunpoint and shot them in the leg after ascertaining their identity.
They said the police mobile vans rushed to the spot as they heard gunshots and the terrorists fired volleys of bullets on them with sub–machine guns, killing a head constable and a constable and injuring four others.
The witnesses said the attackers fled the scene before the police reached the spot. The killed policemen received several bullet wounds, the fatal ones being to the head.
The wounded SSP and officers were shifted to the Aga Khan University Hospital where sources told Dawn that they had received bullet wounds in their lower limbs. They said their wounds were not life-threatening.
The capital city police officer, Wasim Ahmed, told Dawn that the operation was jointly launched by the AVCC and a sensitive agency that had information about the presence of a large number of suspects in the locality.
“The area was a safe haven for terrorists who were planning massive terrorist activities in the city,” he said, adding that “the terrorists have now been flushed out from the vicinity.”
The CCPO said the police had occupied a three-floor hideout, known as Mohmand building, situated a kilometre behind Al–Asif Square at Sohrab Goth. “We have set up a police post in the [Mohmand] building,” he added.
Mr Ahmed said the police had been receiving reports for a long time that terrorist elements linked with religious outfits were active in the area. “It`s a big success as we have put the terrorists on the run.”
The CCPO said the raiding party was accompanied by a `counter assault team`.
The city police chief said the area was inhabited mainly by Afghans and people from Waziristan and Tajikistan.
He said the terrorists were also involved in several criminal activities. “The arrested suspects include a man who was involved in the kidnapping of a Karachi-based industrialist for ransom late last year.”
Meanwhile, area police said they had not been in the loop about the operation conducted by the AVCC.
An official, who did not wish to be named, said the Sohrab Goth police reached the spot sometime after the incident.
Sources said at least two police platoons took part in the raid. The Sohrab Goth police said a case would be registered on the complaint of an officer of the AVCC.
The inspector–general of police, Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak, announced a Rs1 million compensation for each of the two policemen killed in the operation.
He made this announcement after attending the funeral prayers of Head Constable Fayaz and Constable Akhtar Muneer at the police headquarters in Garden. He also announced a job in the Sindh police for a family member of the each deceased.
The provincial police chief also announced Rs100,000 each for the injured police officials.