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Sunday, April 29, 2012

SHO, 10 others killed in Lyari gun battles

Karachi: The narrow lanes of Lyari remained a battlefield for the second consecutive day as fierce battles raged between gangsters and the police on Saturday, claiming nine more lives. The dead included the SHO of the Civil Lines police station. The pitched battles between heavily armed men and personnel of the Anti-Extremism Cell (AEC) have so far claimed 23 lives in two days.
During the day, miscreants lobbed hand grenades and rockets at the police in which which two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were damaged.
The terrified residents of Lyari claimed that due to the operation, they had been confined to their homes and in the exchange of fire between the police and gangsters, bullets had entered their homes, forcing them to take shelter, and even sleep, on the floors of their houses.
The residents attempted to launch a protest against the violence, and also hired a bus for the purpose, but when they reached Safi Lane in Baghdadi armed men opened fire and told them to move back to their homes. The people resisted, upon which the gunmen torched a mini-bus of route U-1 and also opened random fire, forcing residents to go back to their homes.
SSP Mohammed Aslam Khan of the AEC, talking to The News, said that the police had already stationed their pickets in Lyari on Friday night but were forced to halt the operation because of the darkness. Early on Saturday morning, Aslam and his men once again entered Lyari focusing on Cheel Chowk in Kalakot, the stronghold of the gangsters.
On seeing the police approaching, the gang war elements opened random fire and also fired rockets and lobbed hand grenades at them. A gunbattle ensued during which the police managed to apprehend Luqman and Sohail (brothers of well-known gangster Mulla Nawaz) in an injured state who later succumbed to their injuries. The police also recovered arms and grenades from their possession.
SSP Khan said that those killed were wanted by the Lyari and Saddar Town police in cases related to murder, extortion, kidnapping for ransom among others. The police then moved further inside Lyari and another battle occurred in Sirya Gali, Chakiwara, where Wahid Baloch, belonging to the Baba Ladla group and wanted by the police, was also killed.
According to the police, the gangsters had lobbed shells at them and also fired rockets on their APCs. Gunmen opened fire on the police from rooftops but the law enforcers were able to move forward and enter Afshani Gali, where they apprehended wanted gangster Shakeel 35 in an injured condition. Shakeel later died. He was wanted for numerous heinous crimes in Lyari, according to the police, and was the right hand man of Baba Ladla.
Later, the gang war elements started targeting people in other parts of Lyari and injured several people in Agra Taj Colony and Niazi Chowk, including a woman, Naheed Bibi, 25, who was moved to Civil Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
The miscreants had also injured people near Miraan Naka Pull, who were taken to CHK where one Mohammed Azam, a resident of Baghdadi, succumbed to his injuries.
SSP Khan, confirming the attacks, said during the battle the gangsters had fired rockets and also lobbed hand grenades at Kalakot Police Lines due which five people were injured while some parts of Chakiwara police station were damaged.
He added that to counter the miscreants, the police had called in reinforcements from District South, which included a police party of Civil Lines, including their SHO Fawad Khan. When Khan reached near Cheel Chowk in a police vehicle, armed gangsters fired a rocket which directly struck the front of the police van and hit the SHO who was killed on the spot. PC Malik Tasawar and Amir Hussain were injured in the attack.
The martyred SHO was a resident of Gulshan-i-Iqbal. The funeral prayers of the deceased were held at the Garden Police Headquarters on Saturday night and was attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh Mushtaq Shah who commended the efforts of SHO Fawad Khan and expressed sympathy with his family.
Later, the gangsters started targeting nearby localities to divert the police and fired several rockets in Hingorabad, Gul Mohammed Bhoja Street, Nullah Stop and other areas in which six to seven people were injured. According to the police, some five to six rockets were also fired by the armed men.
When asked why the Rangers were not brought in, SSP Khan said that he had not called for Rangers support as it is the right of the local police to call them in as a back-up if needed. He added that until now, the police has managed to clear the area of Cheel Chowk and Afshani Gali from gangsters.
Meanwhile, parts of Lyari continue to remain volatile. The exchange of heavy fire continues till late at night and RPGs were deployed against the police. SSP Aslam Khan claimed that that police have managed to control 65 percent of the area area, while the remaining 35 percent will be cleared within the next day or two.
Meanwhile, late on Saturday night, four armed men riding on two motorcycles came to Abal Chowk of neighbouring Kharadar and opened indiscriminate fire on people. Seven persons, identified as Akram, Shahzad, Raja Ameen, Mohammed Imran, Mushtaq, Yousuf and one unknown, were shifted to the CHK where an unidentified man succumbed to his injuries.
In another late night development, police also found two tortured and bullet-riddled bodies while conducting a search operation in Cheel Chowk. The bodies were later moved to CHK. However, their identity could not be ascertained.
Earlier, police had also found the bullet-riddled body of a woman near Gabol Park. Police said that the deceased was identified as Rukhsana a resident of the Miraan Naka area, and it seems that she became the victim of the crossfire between the police and miscreants. Till the time of going to press, Lyari continued to remain tense.

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