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Taliban commander held in connection with Karachi violence

July 13, 2011 12:40 IST
A key Taliban commander has been arrested in connection with the violence in this Pakistani port city that has been hit by gang warfare since the last two years.

Ali Imran, a key commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has been arrested in a raid, the police said. "He was linked to attacks on security forces in Wana, Waziristan and was also involved in instigating violence in Lyari, and had also been involved in several robberies," a senior police official Aslam Khan said.

A heavy cache of weapons was also recovered during the raid, he said.

Lyari was yet again the hotbed of violence on Monday when six people were killed in firing between rival gangs. Interior Minister Rehman Malik on a recent visit to Karachi hinted that there were signs of Taliban elements being involved in the violence in Orangi Town and Qasba colony, which were the worst hit areas. The recent spate of violence in Karachi has claimed around 108 lives.

Security officials are also investigating possible links between local criminal gangs and religious outfits in Karachi with Taliban groups. "There are definite signs of some connectivity in Karachi between local criminal gangs and some religious extremist groups with Taliban who are well organised and this could be the reason for the upsurge in violence in the city," an official said.

According to security officials, around 250 high-profile terrorists from various banned outfits were arrested from the city between 2001 and 2011.

The most (94) were from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which have attacked Shia Muslims in the past and is an offshoot of the banned dreaded Sipah-e-Sahaba outfit. As many as 40 detained extremists belonged to Harkatul Mujahideen al Alami, another outfit with strong Al Qaeda links.

Recalling some recent arrests that the Central Investigation Department  made from various parts of the troubled city, the official said that interrogations from the detained persons revealed that they work as a "very well gelled together" network and seek commands from their mentors in the tribal areas.

Militants from four Pakhtun tribes -- Mehsud, Wazir, Mohmand and Barki -- are known as the affiliates of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the rest belonging to other groups are called the Punjabi Taliban, said the official quoting a terrorist he had interrogated.
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