sKARACHI, Oct 27: Eleven people were wounded on Sunday in gun and grenade attacks by warring gangs in Lyari on the fourth consecutive day of violence despite a ‘grand’ operation by police and Rangers and reports that the gangs had agreed to a ‘truce’.
The fresh attacks took place in Baghdadi, Chakiwara and Kalri areas in Lyari where the death toll from the three-day violence had reached over a dozen, according to police and hospital sources.
At least nine people were wounded in a grenade attack near Slaughterhouse in Baghdadi, which the police blamed on rival gangs.
“We received nine people with injuries caused by explosives,” said medico-legal official at the Civil Hospital Karachi, Dr Zaryab Ahmed, adding none of the wounded had received any life-threatening injuries.
The injured were identified as Naveed Mohammad, 28, Sufiyan, 25, Tayab Tariq, 25, Wajahat, 30, Abdul Haseeb, 35, Ibrar Hussain, 30, Shahzad, 25, Imtiaz, 35, and Anwaar, 50.
SHO Baghdadi, Aslam Dahiri, said the attack was an offshoot of a running fight between two gangs led by Noor Mohammed alias Baba Ladla and Faisal Pathan or Jabbar alias Jhengu.
He claimed that Ladla-led gang lobbed grenades at people sitting near the Slaughterhouse, assuming they belonged to their rival gang. Police were also try- ing to ascertain whether any of the wounded did belong to any gang or not, said the officer.
In another incident, Zaheer Baloch, 22, suffered serious injuries when unknown gunmen fired at him near Niazi Chowk in Kalri area, said police, adding he was hit in the chest and was admitted to the CHK in serious condition.
SHO Kalri, Mir Mohammad, said that Zaheer’s family claimed he was on his way to play football when he came under attack. But police had a reason to believe that he was associated with gangsters as things had come to such a pass that if someone entered an area dominated by a rival gang he invited attack, said the officer.
Edhi sources reported another grenade attack in Bihar Colony, Chakiwara, in which a man suffered non-fatal wounds.
Authorities believe the violence raging in Lyari for the past three days has died down to a great extent following massive targeted operation jointly led by police and Rangers late on Saturday night, which continued on Sunday.
High police officials consider the task to rein in viol-ence in Lyari a relatively difficult task because of a host of reasons.
Former DIG of South, Dr Amir Sheikh, recently told the apex court that police faced difficulties partly because gangsters enjoyed support of a section of residents and partly because the areas had very narrow labyrinthine lanes.
Police had launched an operation against gangsters in Lyari in near past but failed to achieve desired results.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Rangers Sindh conducted targeted raids in several localities of Lyari and other parts of the metropolis and detained 63 “hardened criminals, including Lyari gang war elements affiliated with political groups and involved in heinous crimes,” said the Rangers spokesperson.
A total of 162 weapons of different calibers, including SMGs, rifles and a huge cache of hand grenades, mixed ammunition and a large quantity of narcotics were also recovered during the raids, he said.
‘Virtual curfew in certain localities’
Sania Naz, an MPA from Lyari, said that a curfew had been imposed in Singhu Lane, Rangra and Nawa Lane areas but the officials concerned dismissed her claim. “People’s movement has been restricted for the purpose of monitoring,” said DC South, Mustafa Jamal Kazi.
He said that certain localities had been completely cordoned off and every person entering or exiting the areas was being monitored and checked in order to identify and nab criminals.
He said the law and order situation could not improve within days. “Necessary steps are being taken to create a peaceful environment,” said Mr Kazi.
There are reports that families living in ‘cordoned off’ localities are migrating to other areas after rumours the drastic action will continue for 10 days.
Warring gangs agree to truce
Ms Sania told Dawn that she and a representative of Lyari’s elder committee, Shahid Rehman, approached Baba Ladla and Uzair Baloch, head of the banned Peoples Amn Committee, and succeeded in bringing about a rapprochement between the warring gangs.
Police expressed ignorance of the truce and said they had heard the news through TV channels and could not confirm it.
Ms Naz said that situation was improving now and people were returning to their homes. But some residents said the situation was still far from normal as commercial activities still remained suspended in Mira Naka, Aath Chowk, Bihar Colony and other localities on Sunday.
They said they faced immense difficulties because of suspension of civic facilities in their areas. Many PMTs had been blown up by criminals, they said.