18 killed as violence spreads in Karachi
KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik ruled out any ‘operation’ in Karachi on Sunday, but talking to newsmen after a renewed wave of target killings left at least 18 people dead and several others wounded said that police and Rangers would work together to restore order.
The daylong violence caused the authorities to once again impose a ban on pillion riding that Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan had lifted about a fortnight ago.
While the situation had been tense in Malir and Landhi amid gunbattles between groups going on for the past few days, violence spread to other parts of the city with attacks on a restaurant and a sweetmeat shop on Sunday. There were reports of two rocket attacks in Malir.
Commercial areas were shut and residents stayed indoors with several localities reverberating with gunfire. The worst-hit areas were Malir, Landhi, North Karachi, Surjani, F.B. Area, Baldia, Lyari and Orangi. The law-enforcers stayed away from trouble spots and were seen only on main roads.
Mr Malik said President Asif Ali Zardari had summoned a meeting to review the law and order situation in the city and other parts of the province.
The meeting has been called amid allegations by MQM leaders about patronage of criminals by some ministers and an appeal made by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi) to the president to take notice of what it described as “the political aggression and terrorism against the MQM-H and its members” and to provide them security.
There is a possibility that some decisions would be taken at the meeting about deployment of law-enforcement agencies in the city to address people’s concerns.
Mr Malik said all parties would have to work hand in hand to restore peace. According to sources, development projects in Lyari are likely to be given priority at the meeting and a package is expected to be announced.
Meanwhile, federal Minister Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah called on Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan on Sunday. The minister said the federal government would extend all possible assistance to the province in its efforts to maintain law and order and political harmony.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the two leaders agreed that the entire country needed restoration of law and order in Karachi.
The chief minister also presided over a meeting held to review the situation in the city. He asked the Sindh Rangers and police chiefs to take ruthless action against miscreants and maintain peace and tranquillity.
Additional Chief Secretary (home) Waseem Ahmed said the ban on pillion riding would remain in force till further orders. He said senior citizens and women would be exempted from the ban.