At least six policemen were killed in two coordinated attacks on police vans in Landhi area of Karachi city on Saturday evening.
According to details, unidentified gunmen attacked a police mobile guarding the house of Muhajir Quami Movement-Haqqiqi chief Afaq Ahmed, killing three policemen.
Then the attackers who were on motorbikes targeted another police mobile that was trying to rescue the cops wounded from the first attack.
Police said the gunmen, who came on three motorbikes, attacked the first police vehicle with bullets and a hand grenade. The second attack took place some 100 metres away when a police mobile was heading towards the site of the first assault.
The assailants managed to flee the crime site however.
The injured cops were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. JPMC’s Emergency Incharge Dr Simi Jamali declared all the six policemen as brought dead.
SP Landhi Faisal Noor when contacted said the first mobile came under attack was of Sindh Reserve Police (SRP) while the second mobile was of the Landhi police station and was attacked near Ghazi Hotel.
He said the gunmen resorted to firing and hurled grenade during the first attack while in the second attack they resorted to indiscriminate firing when a police mobile was passing by. The victims of the first attack included assistant sub-inspector Naeem, Asim Ahmed and Khalil, and of the second assault Javaid, Fida Hussain and Asif Khan.
Sub-inspector Sehzadu was admitted to the intensive care unit with critical wounds. The bodies were handed over to the heirs after autopsy.
Heavy contingents of police rushed to the site after the attacks, cordoned off the entire locality and started a manhunt for the attackers.
At least 26 policemen have been killed in the first 25 days of the current year. The year 2013 had seen 172 policemen dead.
Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah condemned the attacks and called a report from Sindh Police chief Shahid Nadeem Baloch.
Earlier in the day, Crime Investigation Department (CID) claimed to have apprehended two members of a banned sectarian outfit financed and trained by neighboring country.
CID pointed out that the outlawed group Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SPM) operating in the city had killed some 60 people including religious scholars and clerics of rival sect.
The CID also claimed to have apprehended two members of the group and released pictures, sketches and profiles of the 11 fugitives of the gang.
The pictures and sketches of at least 11 men of the 17-member gang including a ringleader Syed Wasim Ahsan Naqvi aka Shahid aka Kashif whose picture was also released while the remaining others include Nisar Hussain aka Rehmat, Abbas aka Gora, Gul aka Abdullah, Sajid, Kashif aka Arif, Imran aka Mota aka Kalo, Adnan aka Manjan, Muhammad Ali Rizvi aka Doctor and two others yet to be identified.
Officials were able to gather the details with the help of two of its members - Jauhar Hussain aka Jafer aka Rehman and Irshad Hussain aka Amir aka Hussain. Their arrests were disclosed during a press conference held by in-charge of the CID’s Counter-Terrorism and Financial Crime Unit on Saturday. One motorcycle, a kalashnikov, three pistols, two cars and a CD containing the list of their would-be targets were also claimed to be recovered by the officials. CTFCU officials say police arrested the accused after a raid in Abbas Town area on a tip-off about their presence in the locality.
In-charge CTFCU Raja Omar Khattab informed media persons that the arrested suspects had affiliation with the banned sectarian outfit, Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan and a person namely Syed Waseem Ahsan Naqvi aka Shahid was their ringleader in Karachi.
“This group comprises 17 members and has been involved in around 60 cases of sectarian-based targeted killings in Karachi alone,” Khattab informed media. “A neighboring Islamic country is providing fund to this group. They have also got training from the neighboring country for this particular purpose.”
The arrested suspects revealed that their ringleader used to pay each of the group member Rs 25,000 per month for targeting the people on sectarian basis and even used to provide them a residential flat and motorcycles. “These members knew each other only by faces but they did not know each other even by their original names are they used code words,” CTFCU in-charge explained. Besides individual acts of target killings, the arrested persons also revealed to have targeted the central leader of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat Maulana Aurangzaib Farooqui in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in December 2012 in which Farooqui was wounded while six of Farooqui’s security guards including four policemen lost their lives in the attack, adding that this group was also involved in the targeted killings of four religious scholars and leaders in Nursery area last year.
“This group members even visited the rallies and processions of the rival sect by posing themselves journalists to select their targets,” Khattab explained.
“Few of this members were also arrested in past but were later released from the jails.” He said that the police were looking for the mastermind and more group members and they would also be arrested soon.