KARACHI, Oct 24: Violence broke out in the strife-hit areas of Lyari on Thursday when a gun battle between two armed groups left three passers-by dead and four others wounded, law-enforcement agencies said.

They added that the killings were the result of a fresh rivalry between the criminal gangs operating in the city’s oldest neighbourhood.

The officials said the breakdown of law and order in Lyari could be a ‘deliberate move’ in reaction to the ‘targeted operation’ by the Rangers that led to the arrest of a number of suspected gangsters during the past one month.

The fresh wave of violence that triggered anxiety and fear among residents and caused suspension of commercial and other activities in some localities again prompted the authorities to launch a targeted operation during which several suspects were detained and arms and ammunitions seized.

According to Chakiwara SHO Ishaq Lashari, seven persons were wounded when the criminals resorted to heavy firing on Tannery Road in Bihar Colony.

All the seven victims were rushed to the Civil Hospital Karachi where doctors declared three of them dead. The deceased were identified as Abdul Ghani Lakhiar, 35, Mohammed Waseem, 26, and Mohammed Shahbaz, 25. All the other wounded persons, including 70-year-old Manzoor Ali, Zeeshan Liaquat, 18, Mohammed, 20, and Asif Fayyaz, 27, were admitted for treatment, the police said.

According to a medico-legal officer of the CHK, Dr Qarar Abbasi, the relatives took away the bodies of Waseem and Shahbaz without completing legal formalities. He said Abdul Ghani had sustained a single gunshot wound in his chest, fired from some distance.

Mr Ghani was stated to be a ‘paramedical tutor’ at the Civil Hospital Dadu. He was also associated with the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Programme.

The killings of three passers-by could be the outcome of ‘infighting’ between two armed groups led by Faisal Pathan and Noor Mohammed alias Baba Ladla, respectively, said Lyari SP Shahnawaz.

He said the firing was carried out at a time when the paramilitary force was conducting a targeted action in the Singhu Lane area of Lyari.

The senior officer believed that the criminals might have opened fire on the people in order to divert the attention of the law-enforcement agencies there. However, he said, investigation was under way to ascertain the exact motive for the attack.

The Lyari SP said they had also received reports that a suspected gangster was killed during a gun battle between the alleged criminal groups. But his accomplices took away the body, he added.

Following the killings, the Rangers conducted a targeted action in Bihar Colony.

According to a Rangers spokesperson, the paramilitary force arrested eight suspects and seized hand grenades, SMGs and other arms from their possession.

The Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, conducted targeted raids in Singhu Lane and other areas such as Liaquatabad, Jut Lines, Burnes Road, Bilal Colony, Khudda Ki Basti, Orangi Town, Al-Falah Colony, Landhi, Angara Goth, Pehalwan Goth, Korangi Town and Rafah-i-Aam Society.

The paramilitary force arrested 29 ‘hardened criminals’, including ‘Lyari gang war elements’ and criminals affiliated with political groups, involved in ‘heinous crimes’.

According to a police spokesperson, the Sindh police chief while taking notice of the firing incident in Lyari directed the city police chief to adopt “strict measures to restore normalcy to the area and report to him”.

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