KARACHI: Though terror-related incidents have been reduced up to 60 per cent in the two years since the commencement of the Karachi operation, sleeper cells of terror outfits still exist in the metropolis and law enforcers are making concerted efforts to eliminate the same, Karachi Police AIG Mushtaq Maher told media on Saturday.
Sharing gains made during the two years of the Karachi operation at the Karachi Police Office (KPO) along with a senior Rangers official, Maher claimed that about 232 police personnel including officers embraced martyrdom during the Karachi operation while 23 Rangers personnel laid their lives fighting terrorists in the city.
The city police chief said 3,000 hardcore criminals had been arrested, while 246 terrorists, 38 kidnappers and ten extortionists had been killed so far in police encounters.
He further claimed that car-snatching incidents reported in the city were the lowest in the past 15 years while motorcycle-snatching incidents were on the rise, which he said will be curtailed.
Rangers spokesman Colonel Amjad maintained that 913 terrorists including 550 target killers were nabbed while 15,400 illegal weapons were recovered from the custody of criminals operating within the city.
Curbing street crime ‘a challenge’
Maher was of the view that the biggest challenge facing law-enforcement agencies within Karachi is curbing street crime, especially ‘cellphone snatching incidents’
"There are 34 roundabouts where such incidents are the highest, so we are considering installing CCTV cameras and emergency response centres there," he said.
Talking about police reforms, Mehr told media that the department will now maintain a computerised record of criminals arrested or punished.
"A biometric verification will take place once they enter the lock up, then each time when they will be presented in court, followed by a record if they are punished."
The police chief maintained that the the LEAs have requested the government to increase the number of Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs) in Karachi, adding that high-profile cases shall be sent to military courts.
He said accountability processes in the police have been initiated and at least 1,000 ‘black sheep’ have been identified in the force who would not be sent on field postings.
Responding to a question, Maher said that in past, operation against criminals had been stopped two or three times in Karachi; but now "every State institution has decided that there is no point of return."
The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) chief while speaking on the occasion requested citizens to help LEAs in curbing crime.
Representatives of trade bodies were also present who stressed for a ‘sustainable’ operation and demanded depoliticisation of police.
The ‘operation’ against criminal elements in Pakistan’s commercial hub was initiated back in September 2013 after the federal cabinet empowered Rangers to lead a targeted advance with the support of police against criminals already identified by federal military and civilian agencies for their alleged involvement in targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and terrorism in Karachi.
A high-level apex committee meeting chaired by the Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif on May 14, 2015 decided to implement effective policing and surveillance in the "vast suburbs of Karachi", to prevent what the military spokesperson said were "sneaking terrorist attacks".
At the meeting, Gen Sharif vowed to continue "across the board operations" at an increased pace and hunt down terrorists who commit heinous acts.
Military spokesman Asim Bajwa announced that the meeting had assessed ongoing operations against terrorists, and touched upon directing intelligence agencies to assist in the "exploitation of existing leads" in all operations.