KARACHI: Six suspected militants allegedly involved in targeted killings of over two dozen law enforcers in the metropolis and the deadly attack on Army Public School in Peshawar were gunned down by police in an ‘encounter’ on the outskirts of the city on Thursday evening, according to police officials.

The contingents of police, acting on information provided by an intelligence agency, conducted a targeted raid on a poultry farm, off the Superhighway, behind Baqai Medical University, said Gadap City SHO Khan Nawaz.

The militants resorted to firing when the police encircled a spot, to which the law enforcers retaliated. During “heavy exchange of fire,” which lasted an hour, six militants were killed, according to the SHO.

‘One of the militants was involved in the deadly attack on APS, Peshawar’

The police conducted the raid acting on information about the presence of militants belonging to banned outfits such as Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Tehreek-i-Taliban (Swati group), said Malir SSP Rao Anwar.

The senior officer said one of the militants was involved in the deadly attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on Dec 16, 2014. He added that a computerised national identity card (CNIC) was found in his pocket, and the investigators were trying to verify his identity as he might be carrying a ‘fake identity card’. The militant originally hailed from Swat and belonged to TTP’s Raheem Shah group, the SSP added.

Another militant was identified as Noor Afsar alias Ada alias Ganga, who was affiliated with AQIS. “These militants were involved in grenade and gun attacks on law enforcers in Ibrahim Hyderi, Korangi, Zaman Town and other areas of Karachi, in which 25 police personnel lost their lives,” said SSP Anwar.

The police claimed to have seized a G-3 rifle, a 7mm rifle, a repeater, a 9mm pistol, a mouser and a 30-bore pistol from their custody. The bodies were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Interestingly, the reports of the deadly encounter carried the name of the same officer who is known for his aggressive and sometimes controversial professional history. Rao Anwar was reinstated as Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir only last month, following direct orders issued to the police chief by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

He was suspended in Sept 2016 after raiding Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan’s house without the permission of the Sindh Assembly speaker.

He had also moved the Sindh High Court to challenge his suspension. In his petition, the officer said that the raid was conducted in accordance with the law. He had pleaded to the high court to declare his suspension orders illegal.

Two LJ militants

Separately, the Counter Terrorism Department of the police claimed to have arrested two sectarian militants.

Acting on a tip-off, the CTD conducted a targeted raid in Ittehad Town and arrested two militants linked with banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, said a police officer, Ali Raza.

The held suspects were involved in sectarian killings, he added.

One Kalashnikov, two hand grenades and one TT pistol were seized from their custody, according to the official.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2017