Monday, November 29, 1999

24 arrested for Karachi killings, 4 more die

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Karachi, June 16 (IANS) Security forces arrested 24 people for their suspected role in a series of target killings that have rocked this southern port for the past few weeks, even as four more people lost their lives in the continuing violence.Police and paramilitary Rangers Tuesday conducted raids in Orangi Town, Baldia Town, North Karachi, North Nazimabad and other areas before making the arrests, Online news agency Wednesday quoted a private TV channel as saying.The arrested men belong to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terror groups, as also the Imamia Students Organisation, police said.Illegal arms were recovered from four of the arrested men, sources said.Meanwhile, at least five people, including a policeman, were killed Tuesday night with the deaths reaching 14 in the last three days.The policeman was gunned down in new Karachi's Sector 5-C, while unidentified men opened indiscriminate fire at a man named Javed Pathan at the Mari Pur bus stand. Pathan is said to be wanted by the police in more than 15 cases.A youth belonging to a religious group was killed in the Garden area, while another youth was killed in the Daalmia neighbourhood.Last month, three days of target killings claimed 37 lives, while at least eight vehicles were set ablaze in various parts of Karachi.The violence initially targeted activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Awami National Party (ANP), the Muhajir Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).The security forces, however, now believe that criminal elements are now taking advantage of this to settle their own sores. This is evident from the killing of a policeman on Tuesday night and a day earlier.Ironically, the MQM is a junior partner in the Sindh and federal coalition governments, both of which are headed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The ANP is also part of the federal coalition.Despite this, the MQM and the ANP have constantly been at loggerheads as they push the interests of their respective communities - the Mohajirs who migrated from India when the sub-continent was partitioned and the Pushtoon-origin residents of Karachi.

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