MANSOOR KHAN AND RAMZAN CHANDIO KARACHI Police and paramilitary forces claimed control over the hot beds of violence in Karachi on Saturday as the Sindh government, as part of a political turf war against the MQM, hassled to restore the old commisonaerte system in the province, claiming that it took the decision on 'popular demand. The security forces meanwhile combed the troubled neighbourhoods of Karachi in search of shooters while another six people were shot dead and three dead bodies were recovered on Saturday. The new deaths brought the death toll from the ethnic and political violence on the fifth consecutive day to 116. According to police data, up to 98 people have been killed since the violence began on Tuesday, while more than 150 people have been wounded. Police and Rangers were ordered on Friday to shoot on sight in the largest city of the country where an extra 1,000 Frontier Constabulary personnel were also deployed to control violence in multi-ethnic, lower middle class neighbourhoods. Our personnel have entered the area and are working to take full control, said a security police official, who did not want to be identified. A police spokesman said 157 people had been arrested in the operation since last night, and 38 pistols and three AK-47 rifles recovered. A Rangers spokesman said troops had rescued hundreds of people trapped in the troubled areas since last night. We have moved several families to safer places, and this exercise is continuing at the moment as well. The number of people evacuated so far is in the hundreds, he said. But the police or other security agencies gave no details of those arrested. The gunmen had been taking positions on the hilltops and spraying bullets on the residences below for last four days. The operation started on in the wee hours on Saturday in which heavy contingents of security forces took part. They took control of Qasba Colony, Kati Pahari and surrounding areas of Orangi Town without facing any mentionable resistance, giving credulence to the claims of the residents that almost all of those arrested were common citizens, while the gunmen had already left the area. The residents, who had evacuated the troubled areas, alleged that the arrested persons were mostly bystanders and those who were defending themselves against the attackers on the high grounds. Uzair Siddique, a resident of Qasba Colony No2, alleged that the dramatic operation shows the security force enjoyed good connections with the militants. A woman, who shifted her residence along with her children to avoid the harm, said that the terrorists were informed about the operation beforehand and were provided safe passage to leave the area. She questioned as to why the rangers, in the first place, had handed out the cemented check posts on the hills to the terrorists four days ago. Terrorists vanished as soon as the security forces contingents reached the area, she said, added that it appears a conspiracy had been hatched against the poor residents of Qasba Colony that left over a hundred people dead. Meanwhile, at least six more people were killed in the incidents of targeted killings in the city on Saturday while three dead bodies were also recovered. Police recovered a body of an unidentified man from Maripur area who was killed by a sharp-edged weapon. In PIB area located near the Central Jail, unidentified armed men opened fire at Abdul Waheed, killing him on the spot. Separately, some unidentified gunmen opened fire at a mini bus in Hassan Square area, killing one person and injuring another. In Baldia Mawach Goth, two people were killed in firing by unidentified motorcyclists. Two persons were found dead in Lions Area and Orangi Town Kati Pahari area. A grenade attack in southern Bhimpura neighbourhood killed two men and injured three on Saturday. Unknown motorcyclists threw a grenade on some shopkeepers who were trying to open their shops in Bhimpura, killing two and injuring three others, police official Mohammad Rafiq said. Gunfire could be heard in western neighbourhoods and hospitals were still receiving casualties, witnesses said. The worst affected areas are impoverished, heavily populated neighbourhoods in western Karachi, dotted with construction sites where armed men of different ethnicities have exchanged gunfire. In a major political development, Sindh Acting Governor Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on Saturday promulgated three ordinances, reviving 1979 local government system to replace 2001 Local Government system introduced in the Musharrafs era. This restored the old police system and revenue authority in the province with the immediate effect. The Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners will be posted in different regions of Sindh soon. The Sindh government also announced to restore Karachi and Hyderabad to their 'original status at the earliest. The ordinances were issued on the advice of Sindh chief minister as the provincial assembly was not in session. As per law, the provincial government is bound to present these ordinances in the Sindh Assembly within three months to convert it into a law through legislation. Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah hurriedly called a press conference at CM House on Saturday evening to defend the governments move, saying that old local government and police system has been revived on the popular demand of people of Sindh. The CM, who was accompanied by some other PPP ministers, said that all the action taken in the Local Government Ordinance 2001 have been given protection in the ordinances issued by the Sindh acting governor. He remarked that 2001 LG system of nazims did not deliver to the masses. The old system was in better interest of the public, he added. The CM said that people were accustomed to the old commissionrate system so it has been revived to bring easiness in their lives. The CM said that provincial and district governments were in confrontation due to confusion in the system of nazims. Even responsibility was not fixed to control the law and order and commodity prices, he added. Qaim also claimed that 2001 LG system was in contradiction with the constitution as the then federal government on the order of military dictator devolved provinces authority to the districts without any consultation with the provinces. Replying to the queries, the CM said that Karachi and Hyderabad would be restored to their original form soon. However, he said that demarcation to create new districts would be done through separate notification. To another question, he said that decision to create five or six districts in Karachi would be taken later. To a question about MQMs reservation, he said, We will bring the ordinance in the assembly, where every member has right to express their will in its favour or opposition; however, the government has required majority to pass the bill. On the other hand, in what was a belated call for action, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) chief Pir Pagara said that the military should be called in Karachi to control worsening law and order situation. The situation in Karachi is unsatisfactory. When the military will arrive in Karachi, the people of the city will adapt to the new situation, Pir Pagara said while taking to media persons along with Interior Minister Rehman Malik after a meeting at the Kingri House on Saturday. He said the PML-F had demanded restoration of commissionerate system in Karachi from the government, which has been accepted. In the past the first class magistrate was empowered to order shoot at sight in case of poor security situation but now even a third class magistrate cant do it, he said. To a question, Pir Pagara said Rehman Malik does not need the guidance of anyone as he himself guides others. Speaking on the occasion, Rehman Malik urged all political parties to play role for maintaining peace and law and order in the Karachi, stressing that targeted action against the miscreants in the mega city would continue till the situation returns to normalcy. The minister said that the Rangers were in complete control of situation around Kati Pahari area. Our paramilitary soldiers have secured the troubled localities and hills where armed terrorists were firing on innocent people, and have restored normal life, Malik said. He said that Rangers have taken control of the pickets of terrorists positioned on top of 'Katti Pahari in Orangi Town area. Adjoining areas are also gradually coming under the control of Rangers and the Police, he said. Well treat anyone who disrupts Pakistans financial capital as a supporter of Taliban and an enemy operating against our war on terror, he said. Malik said he has received information that some miscreants were carrying out violence in the city from the jails by using cell phones. He said the matter is under investigation as to how these miscreants used cell phones in jails and who provided them the phones. Malik said that the MQM and Awami National Party (ANP) were playing their role to maintain law and order in the Karachi. However, he regretted that some leaders were resorting to point scoring over Karachi killings. He said some leaders were giving irresponsible statements over Karachi situation for point scoring. These leaders should sit with us to find solution to the problem, he added. Authorities said they had asked residents evacuated as the violence broke out to return home but few had responded. I had left my house in Qasba on Tuesday for my workplace, but could only return home now when peace has returned after four days, Abdullah Khan, 33, said. I am a construction labourer and support my elderly parents, wife and six children. I am happy to see my family safe but we dont know when the situation will turn difficult again. On the other hand, newly appointed Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan on Saturday told the Interior Minister Rehman Malik not to visit Karachi again, if he wanted to restore peace in the city. He said that his prime objective is restoration of peace in the city. The minister told the media during a press conference at the Karachi Police head office that it was not easy to catch target killers and it would take time sometime to return normalcy to city. Wasan said he did not possess Aladdins lamp or a magic wand which would improve conditions all of a sudden. To a question, he said that when the law enforcement agencies arrest targeted killers belonging to any political party the party disassociate with the criminals. He urged all parties to be united for restoration of peace, adding that he would take along with him to all stakeholders including MQM, ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, others religious parties and also Layri Gang to control the law and order situation from further deterioration. Wasan said that he took charge of the home ministry in very difficult times but hopefully he will give his best regarding law and order situation. He confirmed that at least 77 people were gunned down in the city in last three days while since January 189 people have been killed in target killing incidents, adding that that 157 target killers have been arrested yet. Amnesty International criticised the government for failing to control the violence in Karachi, and raised questions over its orders to shoot on sight. By granting security forces the power to 'shoot on sight the Pakistani government is effectively declaring Karachi a war zone, Amnestys Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said in a statement. Given the Pakistani armys record of human rights violations and impunity, such licence given to the security forces, in a volatile situation, can only be a recipe for disaster, encouraging lawlessness, further violence and killings.