KARACHI: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday gave 48 hours to the Lyari gangsters to surrender, saying that suspects who would lay down arms would be given concessions. He also announced amnesty for those Lyari residents who had been made hostage by the gangsters.
Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister's House after a meeting on law and order, the interior minister said once the ultimatum ended, houses containing arms would be torched. Flanked by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah,Malik said a practical strategy had been prepared to deal with the situation in Lyari and it was decided that across-the-board action would taken in Lyari, Liaquatabad, Sohrab Goth and Malir and wherever criminals were found.
The minister alleged that the Balochistan Liberation Army, the Taliban, the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other elements were involved in the Lyari disturbances as anti-aircraft guns, rockets and other sophisticated weapons had been found and used there. He said these weapons were also used in Swat and Malakand.
Malik said it had been decided to establish a police picket at Hub to prevent the entry of criminals into Lyari. The interior minister revealed that air surveillance of Lyari would also be conducted as the police possessed modern equipment through which everything on the ground could be monitored. Rehman Malik said 22 gangsters had been arrested in the police operation so far.
He said he would not give a timeframe as to when the Rangers would enter Lyari but final action would be taken against the criminals by the Rangers and police jointly within 48 hours. He disclosed that the government had decided to give peace a chance by asking the gangsters to surrender on the advice of the legislators of Lyari and demand of the people. He vowed that Lyari would not be allowed to be turned into another Swat or Malakand.
Malik said the Karachi Electric Supply Company had been directed to provide alternative arrangements for the provision of power while mobile phone service would be restored after three hours.
He said the Sindh government was also providing relief to the affected families. Malik said 90 percent of Lyari residents were peaceful and only 10 percent were involved in criminal activities.
The interior minister announced awards for martyred cops and pride of performance for wounded cops, three injured cameramen, a woman Kalsoom and others.
The minister said the PPP had dissociated itself from the Lyari gangsters. In an apparent reference to a meeting between PML-N Sindh chief Syed Ghaus Ali Shah and Uzair Baloch, the leader of the ‘Lyari gangsters’, Rehman Malik criticised the PML-N for extending a helping hand to the criminals. He admitted that the police had gone to Lyari to conduct raids but resistance put up by the gangsters was beyond their imagination.
Malik said he would give a detailed briefing soon as maps suggesting the break-up of Pakistan have been found and the source of funding for the Lyari gangsters would also be disclosed.
The chief minister said today an effective and well-planned strategy had been prepared and actions had been streamlined. He said across-the-board action would be taken in order to avoid an impression that one particular community was being targeted.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah admitted that the situation had become serious in Lyari. However, in view of suggestions of the intelligence agencies and Rangers in Thursday's meeting, a line of action had been prepared.
Shah claimed that crimes in Karachi and other parts of Sindh had reduced.Sophisticated weapons recovered by the police in Lyari were also shown to the media on the occasion.