KARACHI: Police cla­i­m­ed to have recovered a large quantity of anti-aircraft guns, sten guns, revolvers and other sophisticated arms on Saturday from a British-era building belonging to a charitable trust in the old city area.

SSP Central Malik Mur­taza, who led the operation, told the media that the “military arms” were apparently buried in the ground 10 to 12 years ago.

SSP City Sarfraz Nawaz Shaikh told Dawn that the operation was launched after central district police got information about the presence of sophisticated weapons in the Lea Market area adjacent to Lyari.

He said the building in question belonged to a trust and was given on rent to a person named Saleem who had turned it into a warehouse where utensils, mostly cups, were kept in cartons.

The senior police officer said the digging started on Friday night and continued until Saturday night. As a res­­ult, a huge quantity of anti-aircraft guns, sten guns and other arms were recovered. He said that all the wea­pons were old and rusted.

“The police would appro­ach army experts for a fore­n­sic analysis and tracing of their origin,” Mr Shaikh said. He said the “authentic source” of the weapons would be checked.

The police were not in a position at this stage to declare whether the recovered arms belonged to a container of the Nato military alliance.

Talking to the media at the site, Mr Murtaza said, “We received information about the presence of the weapons there.”

No arrests had been made so far, he said, adding that the police had information about the presence of arms at other places in the same area as well.

He said that on Friday night military arms were recovered while small weapons were found during daytime.

He pointed out that machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, sten guns were among the recovered weapons.

“Sten guns are no ordinary weapons,” the police officer said, adding that efforts were being made to determine as to how these arms had been brought to the site. “We also cannot say at this stage as to whom the arms belonged,” he said.

The SSP said it was a matter of concern that such weapons were recovered from a place near a police station.

Mr Murtaza hinted that the rusted weapons might belong to the Balochistan Liberation Army.

Earlier in August, Rangers claimed to have seized a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in a similar fashion during a raid carried out in a warehouse in New Karachi.

They said the weapons were allegedly hidden by a political party for “future acts of terrorism”.

A Rangers spokesperson said at the time that the intelligence-based raid was conducted in Sector-5E in which seven Kalashnikovs, three 7mm rifles, as many 8mm rifles, one 222 rifle, six 12-bore repeaters, 10 pistols, one revolver and 1,684 bullets were recovered.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022

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