By Tariq Habib –
Indiscriminate action by clear headed law enforcement agencies against criminals and terrorists in Karachi turns once a safe haven into a hell for anti-state elements
It was a sunny morning of 16th of December 2014 when terrorists targeted Army Public School and killed more than 145 students. After the incident, Government and military leadership came on same page and responded to the terrorists in clear voice.
It’s a clear verdict of God in the holy book, “Verily, never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).” It is very clear that none else but the people themselves can change their condition by taking action. When nations find themselves in precarious conditions, only collective wisdom and right actions in the right direction can bring them out of trouble.
After the 16/12 Peshawar massacre, a National Action Plan (NAP) was chalked out with the consensus of the political and military leaderships of the country. The tragedy of 16/12 received the unprecedented attention of the people from all spheres of life, the civil and military leaderships and the mainstream national media.
The execution of terrorist convicts was the first point of the 20-point NAP. In the aftermath of 16/12, Pakistan initially announced the execution of 500 terrorist convicts. As many as 61 terrorist convicts have been hanged so far. On January 13, seven condemned prisoners affiliated with banned outfits were executed in Karachi, Sukkur, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi. All seven had either killed or tried to kill army, government or police officials. On January 15, two more condemned prisoners were hanged at Karachi Central Jail and Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, respectively.
The execution of terrorists drew a clear picture of government and security forces intentions about the terrorism which created strong impacts on the nerves of the criminal elements.
The Peshawar tragedy provided a much needed incentive to take action against the armed militias operating in Karachi. The apex committee meeting particularly the statements by COAS reflected urgency and a new resolve to address the security concerns in the city, Karachi operation being a key point in National Action Plan.
Under the National Action Plan, Karachi Police has conducted 7136 targeted raids search operations in different parts of the city. Resultantly, 378 police encounters took place and more than 50 terrorists were killed and 22 others arrested. Police also recovered over 77 kg of explosives, 118 bombs/grenades and four suicidal jackets during the period from December 23, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
This was informed at a high level meeting held here at Central Police Office under the chairmanship of Inspector General of Police Sindh, Ghulam Hyder Jamali to review the police performance in accordance with the National Action Plan.
Jamali directed that small search groups at police stations level may also be constituted to hunt for criminal elements especially around government offices/residential areas, educational institutes/schools buildings, vital installations and all public places to foil the possible nefarious designs of anti-state and anti-social elements.
On the other hand Pakistan Rangers is also busy in combating with the terrorists in Karachi. More than half of the nearly 6,000 suspected criminals arrested during the ongoing surgical operation in Karachi are affiliated with political parties, counterterrorism officials. “Civilian and intelligence agencies have rounded up 5,882 suspected criminals since the launch of the Karachi operation in September 2013. Of them, 55% are associated with political parties,” a senior interior ministry official said.
He complained that lack of cooperation from major political players has long been undermining effective operations against criminals in the city. “We’ve sought cooperation from four political parties to purge Karachi of criminals,” he added. The political parties have, however, always denied existence of their militant wings and disowned criminals arrested by law enforcers.
The official said criminal elements in Karachi had been divided into three categories: anti-state elements; workers of banned outfits; and their facilitators. The Rangers in cooperation with IB and ISI have collected the data of all criminals, enlisting 913 militants involved in anti-state activities, he added. “Their cases will be sent to the military courts for sure. It’s time to catch the big fish in Karachi,” he said. “The military and political government are backing the IB, ISI and Rangers.”
The official said around 1,700 suspected criminals were working for one political party while another 1,563 were associated with three other major parties of the city. “All of them are involved in murders, kidnapping, extortion and other criminal activities,” he claimed.
Around 365 militants are working for the Taliban and al Qaeda, he added, and another 1,341 are working with other proscribed outfits. “Karachiites will see more raids in coming weeks because we have irrefutable evidence against many VVIPs either backing or running militant wings.”
Karachi police and Pakistan Rangers along with the help of intelligence agencies conducted massive raids in the strongholds of Banned outfits including Manghopir, Sohrab Goth, Shairpao Colony and Keemari. More than 450 terrorists belong to Tahreek Taliban Pakistan TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) have been killed in encounters with the security forces. With the help of intelligence information security forces successfully damaged the network of banned outfits in the city, resulted peace in the above mentioned areas. Terrorists were working in pockets and certain areas of the city were become “no go areas” for the law enforcers. Pakistan Rangers removed the hurdles from the areas and made areas clear by removing the influence of the banned outfits.
TTP, LeJ, Jundullah and other banned outfits are compelled to surrender, sources in the police claimed. The clear decrease in the crime ratio in the city, showed the success of Karachi operation. Terrorists cannot play hide and seek with the security forces anymore, he announced. The trade bodies and industrial associations, appreciated the rangers operation to eradicate crime from Karachi, said that the move will have positive impact on the sentiments of investors.
The writer is a Karachi based journalist