KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - Five more people including a former MQM deputy town nazim were killed as incidents of target killings continued unabated in the port city on Saturday. With the growing incidents of killings, the political leaders have once again demanded of the government to hand over the city to army for curbing the menace. The current wave of target killings, which has been continuing since Thursday last, has so far claimed 27 precious lives. Despite deployment of heavy contingents of Rangers and police and search operation in sensitive areas, five more people were targeted in Mominabad, Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, Alfalah, Orangi Town and Surjani areas. Security agencies claimed to have arrested several suspects involved in the violence. They confirmed the arrest of two suspects allegedly involved in attack on ANP local leader Bashir Jan and firing at a mosque in Orangi Town. However, police did not disclose the names of the arrested men and said both were arrested from Qatar Hospital, Orangi Town, where they went for treatment. Sources privy to the matter said the detained men had affiliation with a banned outfit and they were nabbed a couple of hours after the attack on the ANP leader. The sources confirmed that City Police Chief Fayyaz Laghari briefed a high-level meeting held at the Governors House about law and order situation in the city. The Police Chief confirmed that a total of 27 people had been killed since Thursday while 17 of them were killed in the incidents of target killings. Spokesperson of Home Minister Sindh, Sharfuddin Memon, while talking to The Nation confirmed that 17 out of 27 people fell prey to target killings while the rest were killed in other incidents. The spokesman quoted Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza as saying that the sensitive areas had been handed over to the Rangers and police, adding that the Rangers had been directed to intensify patrolling and checking across the city. He said several suspects had been taken into custody by the law-enforcers from different areas. He further said police and Rangers had also carried out search operations and raids in various areas and arrested many criminals, adding that names of arrested men would be disclosed after completion of investigation and legal formalities. Raids and search operation had been carried out in Falknaz Apartment located in Shah Faisal Town area, Rabia City Apartment, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Abul Hassan Ispahani Road and various localities of Orangi Town. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik held a three-hour meeting with a delegation of religious scholars belonging to various schools of thought at the office of National Crisis Management Centre in the city, reiterating that the government was not amending the existing blasphemy law. Later at a joint Press conference, Nizam-e-Mustafa Party leader Haji Hanif Tayyab along with Interior Minister Malik read a written statement, saying that the National Assembly Secretariat had informed that no committee, headed by Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, existed as popularly believed to discuss the blasphemy law. Malik also assured the ulema that if such a committed existed, it would be dissolved immediately. It was also officially informed that the secretariat had not admitted a private bill submitted by PPP MNA Sherry Rehman, which had sought amendment to the law. Religious leaders who attended the meeting included Maulana Asad Thanvi, Mufti Muhammad Naeem, Maulana Hussain Masoodi of Jafaria Alliance and others. Interior Minister Malik said President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other leadership of the government had reiterated their commitment to show unity on religious issues. He also said a third force was behind the violence in Karachi, adding if we get divided on religious basis, it would benefit the enemy of Pakistan. He said the leaders had decided remain united on religious issues. Giving the details of the decisions reached at the meeting, Haji Hanif Tayyab said keeping in view the present circumstances and situation in the country, the meeting had unanimously decided that no change would be made in the blasphemy law. The meeting also proposed a 10-member committee of religious scholars comprising two members from each religious school of thought, which would examine and probe into the allegations of blasphemy in future. Malik along with PPP leaders also held a meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and MQM leaders at the Governors House, and discussed issues as well as steps to curb the ongoing wave of target killings in the city. On the occasion, Malik ordered judicial inquiry into the target killings in Karachi. The MQM delegation included Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Babar Ghouri, Provincial Minister for Health Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Adil Siddique, while the PPP delegation was represented by the Interior Minister. Meanwhile, Deputy Parliamentary Secretary PML-Q Amir Muqam urged the government to hand over the city to army as the present regime had failed to maintain law and order in the economic hub of the country. Muqam, who is also Khyber Pakhtunkhwa PML-Q President, also submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly to discuss the law and order situation in Karachi. He alleged that all the coalition parties including PPP, MQM and ANP had failed to curb target killings in the city and were politicising the deaths of innocent people. When contacted, the PML-Q (Likeminded) President said the only way to restore peace in the city was a change of government that could handle the whole situation. Terming the present regime incompetent, he feared that the spate of target killings might spill over to other parts of the country. Agencies add: the PML-Q submitted adjournment motions in both the National Assembly and the Senate regarding the killings in Karachi. The PML-Q suggested that a military operation was needed to restore peace in Karachi.