KARACHI, April 30: The Sindh police chief has said that organised crime rate in the city has dropped since the launch of Lyari operation four days back indicating that criminal elements in the city’s oldest neighbourhood might have a role in the organised crime.

Flanked by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Syed Sohail Akbar Shah at the central police office on Monday evening, Inspector-General of Police Mushtaq Shah told a press conference that neither any kidnap for ransom case nor any extortion case had been reported over the past four days. Also cases of vehicle theft had declined, he added.

The police were determined to clean up Lyari, he said, adding that they had already cleared 60 to 70 per cent of the area. He expressed hope that the operation would be successfully completed within the next couple of days.

In reply to a question, he said that some activists of the Balochistan Liberation Army had also been killed in Lyari during the crackdown.

Explaining the aims and objectives of the operation, the police chief said that the area had become hostage to criminal elements. People in large numbers had been forced to flee homes due to the presence of criminals in the area, he added.

“There is no other motive but to clear the crime-infested area of Lyari from the criminal elements,” said MR Shah.

About casualties during the crackdown, the police chief said that there was loss of life on both sides in the exchange of fire. The damages inflicted to the police in terms of the loss of life and damages to the armoured personal carriers showed that heavy weapons were being used by the criminals, he said.

Challenges

Speaking of major challenges being faced by the police, he said that heavily armed criminals had taken up positions in the populated area. They also took advantage of narrow lanes, where vehicles could not enter, he explained.

He said that some criminals had fled and taken refuge in Malir and other parts. Last night, he added, police in Liaquatabad arrested criminals associated with the Lyari violence.

Overall the police had killed five to seven criminals and picked up around 20 suspects, the police chief claimed.

He read out the names of the suspects as Hasan alias Hassu having a head money of Rs2 million and wanted in 55 cases; Mushtaq Khan alias Pathan, Abid, Asif alias Mama, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Sharif, Shahid, Shahzad, Shahjehan, Adeel, Zahid, Javed, Shahzad, Abdul Aziz, Arif and Ghaffar.

The police had also seized a rocket launcher, a light machine gun, 26 AK-47 rifles, two G-3 rifles, 35 hand grenades, six repeater rifles, 20 TT pistols, five 9mm pistols and several hundred rounds of ammunition over the past three to four days, said the police chief.

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