KARACHI: Lyari remained under siege for a third consecutive day on Sunday with at least four more persons, including a policeman, killed in pitched battles between law-enforcement personnel and heavily armed gangsters.
The day-long violence also left several persons, including two DSPs and as many mediapersons, wounded.
Top leaders of the banned People’s Amn Committee decided to become more vocal on Sunday as they contacted several mediapersons on their cellphones and also participated in some television talk shows through a remote video link.
In a related development, Inspector General of Sindh Mushtaq Shah put all other units of the crime investigation department (CID) under the direct command of CID SP Aslam Khan asking them to assist him in the ongoing Lyari operation.
Senior police officials claimed that they regained control of major areas in Lyari. However, PAC leader Zafar Baloch contradicted the police claim, saying they had not been able to take control of even one inch of Lyari.
Some area residents told Dawn that gangsters such as Mullah Nisar and Tajdar alias Taju and their men were still in the area, busy attacking the police. Other gangsters, including Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla and Jabbar alias Jingu, were still holding their positions in their respective areas.
On Sunday, armed men taking positions on rooftops targeted the police and mediapersons present at Cheel Chowk and at the same time a rocket was also fired, which resulted in injuries to policemen and some mediapersons. Eight people, including two cameramen of private television channels, were wounded in the attack.
The wounded were identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Aleem Niazi, Constables Fayyaz Ahmed, Naveed, Imran, Sajid, cameramen Asif of Express television channel and Arif Ali of Dhoom television, and Kashif, a charity worker.
They were rushed to the Civil Hospital Karachi, where Constable Fayyaz died during treatment.
In another incident, a man identified as Kashif, 25, was shot dead in Nawalane within the remit of the Kalakot police station. The victim’s family member took away the body without completing any medico-legal formalities at the Civil Hospital.
In Afshani Gali, a young man, identified as Asghar, was killed and his father, Yousuf, was wounded when they were hit by bullets fired from unknown directions.
DSP Abdul Razzak and DSP Nawaz were also wounded during an exchange of gunfire in the Nawalane area.
DSP Nasir Lodhi of the Special Police Group claimed that Sajid alias Gabber, a brother-in-law of Baba Ladla, was killed near Gabol Park. However, the whereabouts of his body were not clear, he added.
In another attack, constables Kashif and Khalid and 18-year-old Ghazal were wounded near Nawalane. They were shifted to the Civil Hospital for treatment.
DSP Lodhi said the police faced massive resistance in Lyari and gangster used rockets, light machineguns, hand-grenades and an improvised rocket, invented by the Lyari gangsters.
Meanwhile, the Sindh home department directed the police to intensify the operation in Lyari and arrest eight key Lyari gangsters dead or alive.
Those wanted by the department are Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla, Jabbar alias Jingo, Umer Katchi, Tajdar alias Taju, Shahid MCB, Zafar Baloch, Uzair Jan Baloch and Habib Baloch.
Residents of Lyari took out processions in protest against the police operation and demanded an immediate halt to it.
Protests were held in the Albela Signal, Mauripur Road, Gurumandir, Kalapul and Nishtar Road areas.
The protesters also set on fire flags of the Pakistan People’s Party.
The Sindh police chief visited the Civil Hospital on Sunday evening. He said the police would rid Lyari of criminals in the next two to three days.
He said a number of terrorists had been killed in the Lyari operation, but the gangsters were shifting their bodies in private ambulances.
Answering a question, he said the police were in touch with the Rangers and as part of a strategy the paramilitary force had not been called in. “We will seek their help when a need arises,” he added.