KARACHI - Seven bullet-riddled bodies of suspected militants were found dumped among bushes while six people including a cop were shot dead in the provincial metropolis on Monday, officials said.

The deceased appeared to have been brought to the spot in the Manghopir neighbourhood of the metropolis before being executed, senior police officer Sajid Noor told a foreign news agency.

“We found blood and empty shells of the bullets around the bodies implying they were killed at the spot this morning,” he said.

He added that police were investigating whether they belonged to the Pakistani Taliban or another group.

“Some of them have been identified and from their appearance they looked like Taliban but we don’t have any record of their affiliation to the banned group,” Noor said.

A second police official, Nasir Abbas, confirmed that seven bodies had been found - five who appeared to be in their twenties and two who appeared to be in their late thirties, along with rounds of a 9mm pistol.

The Pakistani Taliban have not yet commented. All the victims were clad in Shalwar Kameez and five of them had beards. Police found the bodies lying in a pool of blood in the area located between the Ghazi Goth and MPR Colony.

The bodies were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for autopsies and later moved to morgue, Sohrab Goth for identification.

Police have also found CNICs from the possession of three deceased which suggest that they hailed from Swat and identified as Shoaib Khan, Khan Saeed and Yousuf. Two more bodies were identified as Irshad Kashmiri and Nasir Kashmiri. They were said to be the members of one of the Lyari gangs. Deceased Irshad was said to be a brother of slain notorious Lyari gangster, Rashid Rekha while Nasir was associated with the Sheraz Comrade group of Lyari gangsters.

The victims aged between 20 to 40 were tortured before they were shot dead, said DSP Shaukat Shahani. DSP Shaukat Shahani said that assailants abducted the victims and tortured before taking them to the crime scene and shooting one by one with 9mm pistol as some nine empties shells were recovered from the scene and sent to the laboratory for examination. Police sources said deceased were affiliated with militant outfits and Lyari gangs. It is worth-mentioning here that TTP had alleged security agencies of extrajudicial killing of its operatives in Karachi.

Meanwhile, bodies of two people, yet to be identified, were recovered from Pak Colony and Ibrahim Hyderi localities. Police officials claimed that deceased were drug addicts and died of natural death. However, a police constable, Riaz Hussain was shot and injured near Hassan Square in New Town police limits.

On the other side unabated sectarian killings continued in the city despite a big rally and sit-in protest by Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM).

Gunmen in the port city shot dead three men and injured two others in separate incidents of sectarian killing. The victims who were included Ahmed Ali Zaidi, 35, and Sajid Ali Jafri, 58 and another namely Imtiaz Hussain was wounded.

The incidents occurred in the areas including Liaquatabad, Azizabad and Rizvia Colony respectively. The bodies were shifted to hospitals and later handed over to the families after legal formalities.

Police sub-inspector, Saleem Yasin Rajput, 58, was shot dead in an act of target killing in Korangi in the Awami Colony Police limits. Deceased was posted to PIB Colony Police Station. He was a resident of Sherpao Colony. Deceased was on his way to police station when gunmen shot him dead and managed to escape. Similarly, Amir aka Shehzad, 25, was shot dead near Aath Chowk in Lyari in the Jurisdiction of Kalakot Police Station. SHO Haji Sanaullah said that deceased was shot dead by his cousin, Asif Ismail over personal enmity. Manghopir is particularly a turbulent part of Karachi known to be infested with militant groups including Taliban and sectarian fighters, while bodies have been dumped at the site before.

Last week a major faction of the Pakistani Taliban broke away from the outfit following months of bloody clashes between rival groups. Observers said the split was a victory for the Pakistani military’s strategy of pitting militant factions against each other, while gaining the loyalty of key commanders.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people which contributes 42 percent of Pakistan’s GDP, has been plagued for years by sectarian, ethnic and political violence.