KARACHI: Eight men, including a suspected member of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), were gunned down in an alleged police encounter in the Manghopir area on Saturday.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team headed by SSP Rao Anwar conducted a targeted raid in Rasool Bux Goth near the Northern Bypass.

The SSP, who has been given the task of probing attacks on policemen in the city, said that the police were fired upon and in an ensuing encounter eight suspects were killed.

He said that explosive material and weapons were seized from their custody. The weapons would be sent for a forensic analysis to determine whether or not the arms were used in any other crime in the metropolis, he added.

The SSP claimed that two policemen — Manghopir SHO Ghulam Hussain Korai and Constable Altaf — sustained bullet wounds in the action and were taken to hospital for treatment.

However, SHO Korai told Dawn that he suffered only bruises and not a bullet wound.

Giving details of the shootout, he said that the raiding team belonged to the Malir district police, who got information from a held militant about the presence of his accomplices in Rasool Bux Goth.

He said that the Manghopir police also accompanied the raiding team. Only four of the eight deceased were identified till late in the night.

According to SSP Anwar, the dead men were Irfan Munir, Saddam Hussain, Sharifullah and Ismail Mehsud.

He claimed that suspect Munir was a key operative of the AQIS — a new chapter of Al Qaeda formed by Ayman al-Zawahiri in September 2014 — and allegedly involved in the killing of four policemen in Sharafi Goth as well as in several bomb blasts.

He said that three of his accomplices — Irshadullah, Sohail Chashma and Kamran Gujjar — were still at large.

About deceased Saddam, the SSP said that he was involved in the March 2013 Abbas Town bomb blast that had claimed lives of around 50 people.

Saddam had tried to detonate the bomb by pressing the button of a remote-control device but it did not work, said the SSP, adding that he later handed over the device to one Fareed, who has been arrested in the case.

Sharifullah was involved in the killing of assistant sub-inspector Zulfiqar in Quaidabad, while deceased Mehsud was involved in targeted killings in Manghopir, he claimed.

The head of the raiding police team was a former SSP of Malir district, where he killed dozens of suspected militants in police encounters.

He was removed from the post on April 30 for ‘misusing’ his authority. Since then, he has been awaiting posting. However, a couple of days back, the Sindh police chief gave him a special task to trace and arrest those involved in the recent killings of policemen in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2015

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