ISLAMABAD - There will be no letup in the ongoing Rangers and Police operation against terrorists, target killers and criminals in the port city of Karachi come what may, well-placed sources told The Nation yesterday.

“The operation would continue till the elimination of the menace of terrorism and all the legal requirements, as well as those of justice would be fulfilled,” the sources in the government and security establishment said.

They dismissed the impression that the ongoing operation could be suspended because of the death of an accused Aftab Ahmed of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) last week, adding it will continue with the same zeal to achieve the set targets.

The sources said that inquiry ordered by the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif into the death of Aftab Ahmed is underway and who so ever found involved in any excesses while interrogating the deceased would be taken to task.

Sindh Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akbar immediately suspended the staffers involved in the interrogation of the deceased accused Aftab Ahmed the moment he came to know about the incident.

Aftab was arrested by the Rangers on various charges including target killing and was on 90-day physical remand when he died.

Sindh Rangers Director General on Saturday had a detailed meeting with Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and both the dignitaries resolved to continue the operation till achievement of its objectives.

According to the government sources, the governor appreciated the performance of the law enforcement agencies as well as public’s cooperation in this regard.

He said that the Rangers and other law enforcement agencies rendered great sacrifices for the betterment of law and order situation in the province, adding that owing to the on-going operation, the law and order situation is improving.

The governor emphasized that in an improved law and order situation, foreign investment is certain in the city as well as the country which will help bring prosperity and create employment opportunities.

The Karachi operation was launched by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on September 5, 2013, to root out crime and terrorism from the megalopolis after taking political stakeholders the PPP and MQM on board.

But shortly MQM started protest after the Rangers wrote a letter MQM leadership last year to hand over custody of its 187 workers nominated in cases of the targeted killings of police officials who participated in Karachi operation in 1990s.

But despite shutter down strikes by the MQM operation continued with full force and had raided important hideouts of the wanted criminals associated with the MQM. 

The operation is now running in the second phase started in August last year after successful achievements during the first phase.

According to the sources in the Sindh Rangers, 5,795 raids were conducted during the first phase in which 10,353 suspects were apprehended, 7,312 illegal weapons were recovered with 348,978 rounds of ammunition. Prominent among the raids conducted were the ones on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters Nine-Zero and the offices of Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).

Moreover, a total of 826 terrorists, 334 target killers, 296 extortionists were arrested during this period. The Rangers also expanded their sphere against kidnappers, arrested 82 abductors and securing the release of 49 people from their captivity.

The Rangers also traded fire with criminals, engaging in a total of 224 “encounters” in which 364 suspected criminals were killed and 213 others arrested.

As a result of the operations during the first phase, the target killing in the port city had dropped drastically by over 80%, with attacks dropping to under 10 in June 2015 after having peaked at 73 in December 2013.