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Discord over starting point of Lyari drive against arms

Updated August 27, 2013

KARACHI, Aug 26: A meeting between representatives of the Baloch and Kutchhi communities held here on Monday at the commissioner’s office agreed on an operation cleanup to rid old city areas of illegal arms but concluded without reaching a decision on where and when to start the process.

Sources privy to the meeting told Dawn that another Baloch-Kutchhi meeting would be held within the next few days at the office of the deputy commissioner of south to fix the date and identify the areas, with agreement of both the communities, to launch the operation from.

The sources said that representatives of both the communities were insisting at the meeting chaired by Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui that the operation be started from the area inhabited by the other community.

Police suggested the operation be started in a straight line from one side and pushed ahead till it reached the other side in order to comb all areas in between, said the sources.

Zafar Baloch who represented the Baloch community at the meeting said that he suggested the operation be launched from Mandra Mohalla and Alfalah Road which were recently affected by gang warfare and people felt threats to their lives.

But, he said, Kuchhi representatives did not agree to the suggestion. He hoped they would soon come round and help rid their area of illegal weapons.

He said the date to start the operation from had not yet been fixed. It would start only after a consensus was reached between the two communities, he said.

He said the Baloch fully supported the operation and believed that it be launched not only in Lyari but in the entire city to cleanse it of illegal weapons and restore much-needed peace to Karachi.

Ibrahim Kutchhi who represented his community at the meeting said that they proposed the cleanup be started from Kharadar area and pushed ahead gradually to Nawabad, combing all areas in between for illegal weapons.

He said that Jakhoi Para, Hingora Para and adjoining areas be cleaned up on a priority basis. His community members had no objection if the operation was started from their areas which were populated with Kutchhi, Gujrati speaking Memons, Patnis and Ismailis.

A large number of terrorists had set up their hideouts in the houses of these communities which they had occupied and unleashed a reign of terror in the area, he said.

He expressed reservations over Zafar Baloch’s suggestion and said that first the areas named by his community members be cleaned up then other areas could also be combed for illegal arms.

He said that his community accepted the government’s writ and wanted that the terrorists be taken to task so that peace could return to the area. Commissioner Siddiqui said that law enforcers were already deployed in Mandra Mohala, Alfalah Road, Babu Hotel, Lane No9 and adjoining areas and their number would be increased over time.

He said that the number of police personnel and equipment in the four Lyari police stations would be increased and they would be provided better mobile vans for patrolling to give police an upper hand over miscreants.

He said the operation cleanup would be launched only after both the communities agreed on the areas from where to start it and when to start it.

He said that sports events, including football matches and tournaments, would be organised in the troubled areas to provide healthy activities to the youth.

He urged both the communities to put forward proposals for other such social and cultural activities that could be planned in the area.

The Kutchhi community was represented by Mahboob Hingoro and Ibrahim Kutchhi while Zafar Baloch, Habib Hassan, M.B. Kamran, Rasheed Baloch and Sattar Baloch represented the Baloch community at the meeting.

Additional IG of Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo, deputy commissioner south Mustafa Jamal Kazi, SSP city Tariq Dharejo, Abdul Ghaffar of the Rangers and other officials concerned also participated in the meeting.