KARACHI: Life in Lyari started returning to normality on Saturday following the weeklong gunbattles between police and suspected gangsters that left 38 people, including five policemen, dead and many injured.
Normal activities were witnessed around the worst-hit Cheel Chowk that served as the police base camp during the Lyari operation.
Workers of utility services, including the Karachi Electricity Supply Company and Pakistan Telecommunication Company, removed faults that had developed during the armed clashes that saw free use of rockets, hand-grenades and machine guns mainly by armed group who attacked the police.
Other parts of Lyari, including infamous Afshani Gali, Singu Lane, Daryabad, Khui, Chakiwara, Eidu Lane, Gul Muhammad Muhallah, Baloch Para and a few pockets of Kharadar also witnessed business with usual hustle.
In a surprise move, the law-enforcement agencies without achieving the targets the police chief had announced just a day ago pulled out on Friday evening from the strife-hit areas of Lyari, suspending the operation for the next 48 hours. While both sides suffered casualties in the weeklong exchanges of gun and rocket fire between law-enforcement personnel and members of the banned People’s Amn Committee, residents remained without access to basic amenities.
Sindh IG Mushtaq Shah on Saturday repeated that another operation would be launched in Lyari after a 48-hour break that would end on Sunday evening.
He again asked the armed men to surrender and face the law.
He admitted that there had been serious flaws on the part of the police in handling the situation and a wrong assessment of the strength of the gangsters holed up in Lyari.
“During the operation, we felt that we were fighting the enemy on the borders,” he told reporters after the funeral prayers of a police officer, who was gunned down in the Manghopir area on Friday, at the Police Headquarters in Garden.
“We didn’t have any idea that the gangsters would have such a huge cache of modern and sophisticated arms. We really had no idea. But the operation was not suspended or called off at anyone’s behest. We have asked them to surrender within 48 hours, and by the time we are analysing the situation and making better planning for the next round of the operation.”
Answering a question, he said aid from Rangers could have produced better results of the Lyari operation.
However, he did not elaborate reasons behind keeping the paramilitary forces away from the whole exercise.
“Obviously, the larger force and better-equipped force you will have, better results you will get. But we are very much satisfied with the performance of the police, who have done a good job considering the available resources and situation,” said the IG.