Karachi: Hundreds of miles away from the
restive Waziristan region where Pakistan Army is locked in a
decisive fight with the Taliban militants, this sprawling port
city is fast turning into an urban battlefield between the
police and the militants from the tribal belt.
"We are fighting a dangerous battle in the city
against the Taliban," a senior police officer Umar Shahid
said, disclosing that the militants were making their way here
to take refugee or set up safe house and command and control
Shahid, who is a Superintendent of Police in the
volatile city, has said that some leading leaders from the
Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and other banned militant outfits have
been arrested in Karachi, a city that is home to unofficially
some 18 million people, including millions from other parts of
the country and even outside Pakistan.
His comments come as US intelligence suspect that some
of the key leaders of both the Pakistani as well as Afghan
Taliban have havens in the city. The teeming city is also
suspected of being used by other key terrorist groups like
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-i-Mohammad.
"We rely on a big network of local informers to catch
these terrorists and at times we have to be very patient to
nab them at times it takes days before we actually arrest
them," Shahid said.
He said it had become obvious from his investigations
in recent months that a large number of activists of the
Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and other militant outfits like the
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were coming into Karachi to take refugee or
set up safe house and command and control centres.
The biggest catch for the Karachi police came in
February when with the help of intelligence and security
agencies they arrested Mullah Baradar the second in command to
Taliban leader in Afghanistan, Mullah Omar.
"It is a daily cat and mouse game to nab these people
but we have a proactive network of informers who keep a watch
on all those areas where these people come and go," the police
Shahid who has been responsible for the arrest of at
least three wanted militants last week, including one who was
involved in bombings on the US consulates, said it was clear
that the war against extremism and terrorism was now also on
in the streets of Karachi.