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Hundreds picked up in Karachi after Rangers crackdown

Published Dec 07, 2010 10:20pm

Rangers
“Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) in the morning today conducted an operation against terrorists and criminal elements in Kunwari Colony and detained several people and seized arms from their possession,” said a brief statement of the Rangers. – Online Photo / File Photo

KARACHI: Dozens of paramilitary troops cordoned off some poor neighbourhoods of Manghopir on Tuesday and reportedly picked up hundreds of suspects during a search operation of houses that lasted for more than six hours, officials and sources said.

Though senior officials remained tightlipped on the issue — and a spokesman for the Pakistan Rangers gave scant details about what was tersely described as the outcome of the “operation against terrorists and criminal elements” — sources privy to the process said that the forces detained at least three men said to be associated with banned militant outfits.

“Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) in the morning today conducted an operation against terrorists and criminal elements in Kunwari Colony and detained several people and seized arms from their possession,” said a brief statement of the Rangers.

The statement, however, shed no light on the number of suspects detained, the nature and quantity of the arms seized and, most importantly, the reason behind it as well as the achievement of the paramilitary forces in the early morning operation that lasted for more than six hours, keeping the area residents in the grip of fear.

Similarly, the police authorities were also unaware of the precise plan of the paramilitary troops and then the result by the end of the day. They claimed they only assisted the Rangers personnel in their self-designed operation.

“We only coordinated and assisted the Rangers force,” said DIG-West Sultan Khawaja while refusing to share any details of the operation. He said the police of the area under his jurisdiction stayed with the Rangers officials, but were not aware of the number of suspects picked up by the paramilitary troops.

Dozens of vehicle carrying Rangers troops cordoned off Kunwari Colony and a few other neighbourhoods in the Maghopir area and stayed there for more than six hours. The troops also conducted a house search and detained a number of residents on suspicion, restraining people from entering and leaving the particular areas till they ended the exercise in the second half of the day.

Though the source said the people detained by the Rangers were in their hundreds, they believed at least three key suspects were among those arrested during the operation from a house in the locality.

“They have been referred to as members of some banned militant outfits, but it’s not yet clear as to which group they actually belong to,” said the source. “Arms have also been recovered on their lead, but again their nature and number are not yet known.”

The source said the key suspects arrested were not from Karachi and had settled in the area for a few months but their militant history had not been shared with anyone by the security officials.