Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan addresses a press conference in Karachi.-PPI

KARACHI: The newly appointed Sindh Home Minister, Manzoor Hussain Wassan, has said that ‘land and drug mafia’ may be involved in the targeted killing of citizens in Karachi and declared his plan to launch an operation against terrorists and anti-state elements in ‘other areas’ of the city.

Speaking at his first press conference after taking charge of his office on Saturday, he said such an operation had already been launched in Qasba Colony, Kati Pahari and Orangi — the scene of some of the worst incidents of ethnic violence witnessed by the city.

Mr Wassan said: “We cannot rule out involvement of drug and land mafia in the targeted killings… Taliban, drug peddlers and extortionists are also involved in the killings.”

The home minister said that apart from these strife-torn areas, an operation would be launched in other parts of the city against those involved in gang warfare and targeted killings in order to improve the overall law and order in the metropolis.

He expressed his determination to make Karachi a citadel of peace in the coming days. “I will do my best to take along all political parties in line with the government’s reconciliation policy to restore peace to the city,” he said.

Accompanied by Provincial Police Officer Wajid Durrani and Capital City Police Officer Saud Mirza at the Central Police Office, Mr Wassan vowed to face the challenge of targeted killings and other sorts of violence in Karachi, and said that he had taken the charge of his department in a difficult time but was confident that he would succeed in curbing lawlessness with the help of political parties and the media.

The ongoing spate of targeted killings has claimed 77 lives in Karachi, according to him. A total of 157 suspects had already been arrested for their involvement in such incidents, he said.

The home minister told the media that criminals had taken cover of political parties but they would be arrested soon.

He said that targeted killings in Karachi had been continuing since 2005 and 189 people had lost their lives in these incidents this year so far.

He said he would soon undertake a visit to the areas where an operation by law-enforcement agencies was under way, and appealed to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and all other parties to play their due role in restoring peace to the city.—APP/PPI