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Karachi police are conducting raids across the city to nab the suspected mastermind of the attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan on the first day of Eidul Azha, DawnNews reported.

The suspected militant, who belongs to the newly-emerged outfit Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan (ASP), managed to flee a raid carried out by a police team led by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed on Monday in the city's Gulzar-i-Hijri area.

A University of Karachi ID card belonging to the suspect. ─ Photo courtesy Imtiaz Ali
A University of Karachi ID card belonging to the suspect. ─ Photo courtesy Imtiaz Ali

According to the SSP, the suspect was identified as Abdul Karim Sarosh Siddiqui, a central commander of ASP and a dangerous militant described as the mastermind of the attack on Izharul Hassan.

Siddiqui, who was wounded during the raid before fleeing, is a former student of Applied Physics at the University of Karachi, DawnNews quoted police as saying.

He is said to be a close friend of another suspected militant, Hassan, who was killed during the assassination attempt on Izharul Hassan.

Earlier on Monday, police along with intelligence personnel raided various houses in Gulzar-i-Hijri area of Karachi in connection with the presence of suspected militants. During the search operation, an encounter took place in Kaneez Fatima Society during which a policeman was martyred and another wounded, whereas the suspected militant, Sarosh Siddiqui, managed to flee, DawnNews reported.

Police have reportedly taken Siddiqui's father, Sajjad, into their custody. They have also arrested Ansarul Sharia Karachi chapter's spokesperson from the Defence area on Sajjad's indication.

Hassan, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, escaped an assassination attempt on Saturday when he was returning from Eid prayers.

One of the assailants was killed in the cross fire, along with one of Hassan's guards and a teenager. Four other people were reported to be injured.

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Shah, accompanied by Khawaja Izhar and PPP leaders visited the residence of Muhammad Kamran, the father of the teenager killed in the attack, and offered condolences to the family. He assured Kamran the killers of his son, Arsal, would be served justice.

Additional Inspector General Mushtaq Maher briefed Murad Shah about progress made in the case so far.

'Security audit, students' verification'

Sindh CM Shah announced that a security audit and verification of students would be undertaken in each educational institute "to ascertain if they are breeding terrorists".

"It is quite painful to see highly-educated people involved in terrorism... Academically we will have to review our education system to make it more efficient, and simultaneously we will have invest in a cyber system to keep necessary checks on social media which is importing terrorist proclivities through wire services," he said.

The Sindh CM said this during a visit to Izhar's residence today to express solidarity with the MQM leader after the attempt on his life.

CM Shah claimed the Sindh government had provided security to MQM leaders and other important individuals. "I have requested Khawaja Izhar and Faisal Subzwari to review their security arrangements and let me know if some extra measures are required," he added.

The Sindh CM, highlighting the need to formulate a comprehensive policy to fight terrorism, claimed that although the provincial government had sent a list of seminaries to the federal government requesting they be put on the fourth schedule, "they did not bother".

"Then we requested them to at least keep watch on them, but even then they turned deaf ears to our apprehensions," he said.

He said the Sindh Assembly had enacted a law to keep record of people coming to Karachi from other areas. "This is a cosmopolitan city, where people who speak different languages, from different areas and even from other countries live. Sometimes you do not know who lives in your neighbourhood, but we are trying to keep a record," he said.

Four suspected terrorists killed.

Four suspected terrorists were killed during a police 'encounter' near Sadaf Society.

SSP Rao Anwar said police, acting on the basis of information provided by intelligence agencies, conducted raids on Dawood Bungalows in the area.

"After the police encounter, four terrorists were found dead, including Tehreek-i-Taliban Swat (TTS) ─ now Daesh ─ leader Maulvi Fazlullah's cousin, Commander Khursheed who was involved in the killing of Army officials, the attack on Malala Yousafzai and a bomb attack on the Quaidabad police," the SSP claimed.

Further investigation is underway, the SSP added.