KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers Sindh have arrested 654 target killers affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) armed wing since September 4, 2013, claimed a press release by the paramilitary force.

Rangers claim the 654 target killers arrested were involved in 81.16 per cent of the total incidents of target killings in the metropolis, which stands at 7,224.

The target killers, said to be affiliated with MQM, have confessed to being involved in 5,863 incidents of target killings, read the statement.

Out of the total number of target killers arrested, 95 were affiliated with militant wings of other political parties and Lyari gangsters and are said to be involved in 804 incidents of target killings in the metropolis.

The number of arrested target killers affiliated with banned outfits stands at 99, are said to be involved in 557 incidents of target killings.

Karachi operation

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"

Amid resentment and criticism from certain political circles over the ‘Karachi operation’, the military establishment in August said that there would be no let-up in actions by law enforcement agencies “to ensure a peaceful and terror-free Karachi”.

Although terror-related incidents have decreased significantly in the three years since the commencement of the Karachi operation, sleeper cells of terror outfits still exist in the metropolis and law enforcers have been making concerted efforts to eliminate the same