Karachi becoming hotbed of militant groups: Police
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 17:27
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 centres.

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 official said.

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.


First Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 17:27

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