As fear gripped residents of Karachi's Gulistan-i-Jauhar area after reports surfaced of a knife attacker targeting women in the area, police on Thursday said they had launched a manhunt and an investigation into the motivation and identity of the attacker.

Police officials, confirming media reports, said they are looking for an "armed [motorcycle] rider" who allegedly attacked and wounded a number of women in the area over the past few days.

Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered ─ two at the Shahrah-i-Faisal police station and one at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station ─ on the complaint of three women who said that they had been attacked by a lone "knife-wielding" motorcyclist.

"We have registered three FIRs regarding incidents in which three women were attacked and wounded," said Superintendent of Police Gulshan-i-Iqbal Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto.

SP Bhutto said that the three attacks had taken place on Monday, whereas the administration at a local hospital had informed the police of another attack on Tuesday.

"The police have launched a manhunt for the arrest of the motorcyclist by deploying plainclothed men. Different localities of Gulistan-i-Jauhar have also been notified," SP Bhutto said.

The officer said that the police had some useful information, which may help them identifying and acting against the culprit.

One of the FIRs was lodged by a woman and her friend who were allegedly attacked by the motorcyclist as they stepped out of the house to do some shopping. Both sustained minor injuries.

A second FIR wa sregistered in Jauhar by a domestic worker who told police she had been attacked by a motorcyclist as she stepped out of her house in the area.

Both FIRs were lodged under Sections 354 and 337 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Earlier, taking notice of media reports of "knife attacks on five women", Inspector General Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja had ordered Deputy Inspector General (East) Sultan Ali Khawaja to conduct a detailed inquiry into the matter and submit a report.

The provincial police chief had also directed the police to launch an effective and coordinated investigation to arrest the culprits involved.

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