Karachi: About 19 militants belonging to banned militant groups, including sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, were on Monday arrested during police raids in the cities of Karachi and Quetta in Pakistan, officials said.
A senior police official in Quetta said that security forces had apprehended 14 suspected militants during a search operation in the Eastern Bypass area of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan.
"The raid was conducted on intelligence reports and militants belonging to a banned outfit were arrested. They have been moved for interrogation now," he said.
He said the arrested militants included a mastermind of the attacks on anti-polio workers in Quetta last month in which four workers were killed by armed men.
In Karachi, the anti-terrorism cell of the police arrested five suspected militants of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi outfit.
Senior CID officer Umar Khatab said they were arrested from the Ittehad Town area on the outskirts of the city.
"They were arrested after an exchange of firing with police and we have also recovered arms and explosives from them," he said, adding that the arrested militants had got training in North Waziristan for terrorist activities.
Security forces in many parts of Pakistan have stepped up operations against militants after the deadly terrorist attack on an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16 in which atleast 150 people, including 134 children, were killed.
Since then the government has also agreed for the establishment of military courts to summarily try terrorists and the Prime Minister ended a moratorium on death sentences to be enforced by jail authorities.