KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Department of police on Saturday claimed to have arrested a suspected Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London hitman for allegedly killing nearly two dozen people, including two policemen, in the city.

Five repeaters, two rifles, one 8mm rifle and one Kalashnikov, which had been used in the murders, besides a huge quantity of ammunition were seized from Qasba Colony on the basis of information he had provided to the police, said CTD SSP (Intelligence) Omar Shahid Hamid.

The officer said the police had arrested Imran alias Mama in Qasba Colony late Friday night. During initial interrogation, the 30-year-old suspect disclosed his involvement in the killing of 22 people and wounding many others. His three accomplices namely Sufyan alias Chabi, Faisal Shahzad alias Tokri and Tahir alias Lamba were killed.

According to the CTD SSP, most of these 22 killings were carried out between 2010 and 2012 in the Pirabad area on ethnic grounds.

Two policemen among the victims

The suspect was born in Lahore and originally hailed from Faisalabad. He came to Karachi along with his nine siblings when he was a child. He worked at his father’s shoemaker’s shop in Nazimabad No. 7 and later started working at a meat shop in Qasba.

It was in 2007 that he joined the MQM “as he was inspired by the influence that MQM workers had in Qasba Colony and got weapons’ training”, the officer quoted him as telling the police interrogators.

Initially, he did menial tasks such as making arrangements for rallies. But after the assassination of MQM lawmaker Raza Haider in 2010, he along with his accomplices decided to kill ‘others’ in targeted attacks. The officer quoted him as saying that ethnic killings were carried out on the orders of certain party leaders.

He also admitted to have killed a 12-year-old boy who was passing by a private school in Qasba Colony in an exchange of fire with law enforcers in 2011.

Causes of ethnic riots

Mostly ethnic riots erupted in Qasba Colony over trivial issues such as wall-chalking, removal of banners and party flags, marching through an area dominated by the rival political group and provocative statements by leaders of the rival party, revealed the CTD’s initial probe findings.

The held suspect also ‘confessed’ to have killed a policeman, Shafiq, on ethnic grounds in 2012. He also ‘admitted’ killing a PPP worker, and the son and son-in-law of another PPP worker there, the CTD said.

Imran alias Mama was one of the 22 members of a gang of hitmen, according to the CTD.

Additional IG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi said the seized weapons “would be sent to police’s forensic lab” to verify if the same arms had been used in the targeted killings and attempted murders.

AIG Abbasi said forensic evidence was likely to be given to the foreign ministry to share with the UK authorities, as the killings were allegedly carried out on the instructions of the party leadership sitting in London as per initial interrogation of the held hitman.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2017