Shoot-at-sight orders in Karachi, toll reaches 85

August 6th, 2010 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Karachi, Aug 6 (IANS) Authorities have issued shoot-at-sight orders as ethnic violence triggered by the assassination of a politician in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi entered its fifth day, taking the death toll to 85.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has issued orders to the law enforcing agencies to shoot terrorists at sight in order to control the growing wave of targeted killings, and violence that have claimed 85 lives in the last four days, Pakistan Tribune reported.

Several miscreants involved in separate incidents of targeted killings, rampage, and arson, have been arrested and “are being interrogated by the investigators as we have kept a close eye on what is happening in Karachi,” Malik told reporters as he reached Islamabad Thursday evening.

“I warn drug mafia, land mafia, mercenaries, and TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) to desist from their heinous activities, otherwise strict action will be taken against them,” Malik said.

“Now, terrorists will be dealt with iron hands,” he said, adding that the law enforcing agencies had changed their strategy to deal with terrorism, and that a clear change in this regard would be witnessed by the people of Karachi within next 48 hours.

The minister said a comprehensive strategy has been devised by the law enforcing agencies to contain the growing incidents of targeted killings, and if needed, army might be called out to assist the administration.

To a question, Malik admitted that Karachi has turned into a city of weapons and said a campaign to de-weaponise the city was being planned in consultation with all the political parties.

Karachiites would hear “good news” in this connection very soon, he said, adding that Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani will visit Karachi to discuss proposed anti-terrorism actions with coalition partners.

“Next 24 hours are crucial in this regard,” he said.

He asserted that the three ruling coalition partners, the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party), the MQM (Muttahid Qaumi Movement), and the ANP (Awami National Party) would find out a permanent solution to the menace of targeted killings.

To a question, he said that some Taliban fighters were using the name of Pashtun community to carry out their activities in Karachi, but they would not be allowed to deteriorate law and order in the city.

MQM leader and member of the Sindh provincial assembly, Raza Haider, was shot dead Monday in Nazimabad area where he had gone to attend a funeral.

As the news spread, mobs torched more than 50 vehicles including buses and trucks and set several shops and fuel stations on fire.

Ethnic violence and target killing has claimed more than 1,500 lives in the city over the last two years.

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