At least 22 people, including two senior police officials, have been killed and around 55 injured during the operation by law enforcement agencies in the troubled Lyari neighbourhood of Karachi that entered its third day on Monday.
Police combated heavily armed miscreants who confronted them with rocket launchers and grenades. The operation would continue in Lyari until all the criminals were arrested or killed, Inspector General of Police of Sindh province, Mushtaq Shah told mediapersons on Monday.
"I cannot give a definite time frame for when this operation can end but we have achieved major successes today despite the fact that these criminals are using heavy firearms and firing rocket propelled grenades against us from rooftops and bunkers," Shah said.
The operation that began on Friday has seen the police aided by the Frontier Constabulary forces slowly move into the congested and narrow lanes of Lyari which is considered the stronghold of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and Bhutto family but in the last few years has been taken over by different criminal gangs who are said to have affiliations and are patronised by politicians.
Shah confirmed that five people had been killed in the heavy gun firing by the criminal gangs today including two senior policemen, two of the criminals and a woman taking the death toll to 22 in the last three days.
Two television cameramen and some police officials were also injured in the gunfire today. The residents of Lyari, fearful of escalating violence and deprived of food and rations have started migrating to safer places.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry of Sindh has issued an arrest warrant for Uzair Jan Baloch, a former chief of Peoples Amn Committee. Baloch yesterday announced that he was quitting the PPP in protest against the police action.
Today, provincial Home Minister Manzoor Wassan left on a one-month vacation insisting he no longer held the ministry and this was now the responsibility of the chief minister.