KARACHI - Three Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and a Ranger were killed in an encounter in Gulshan-e-Bunair, Landhi, where TTP operatives were chalking out a strategy to carry out terrorist activities during Ashura processions in the metropolis.

The encounter took place when Rangers and police conducted a joint raid in Gulshan-e-Bunair at a hideout of the militants who offered a stiff resistance against the law enforcers.

“As the law enforcers reached the hideout and asked the militants to surrender, they hurled a hand grenade,” said Quaidabad SHO Ahmed Asim. The militants also resorted to indiscriminate firing from their hideout and an encounter started. Resultantly, three terrorists and a ranger, Ali Akbar, were killed while another ranger, Muhammad Asif, was wounded.

The locality has been considered as one the few militants-dominated areas where several major terrorist acts, including targeted killing of female polio workers, bomb blasts on clinics and hospitals over nonpayment of extortion money, are a routine matter.

The sources privy to the matter said the terrorists killed in the encounter were involved in a number of terror incidents, especially in district Malir, and several cases were registered against them. They vanished from the area a few months ago, but returned in the recent days.

The rangers claimed the militants killed in the encounter were plotting to target the main Ashura procession on MA Jinnah Road. The law enforcers also claimed to have recovered weapons from their possession.

The bodies of the militants were taken to the morgue of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. They were identified as Amirullah Mehsud, Ziauddin alias Sher Wali and Zaman Khan. The spokesperson for the law enforcers said one of their jawans, Ali Akbar, also embraced martyrdom in the encounter. His funeral prayers were offered at Rangers Bhittai Headquarters, which was also attended by Rangers DG Maj-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, DDG Rangers, Additional IG, Karachi, and other senior Ranger officers. Later, his body was moved to his hometown near Mansehra for burial. He had been serving the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, for the last seven years and 11 months. He left behind a widow and two daughters.

Meanwhile, the sensitive agencies’ personnel on a tip off raided a house in Quaidabad area and arrested the city chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Shahabullah, along with four other militants.

According to reports, they were nabbed during a raid conducted by the intelligence agency. A huge cache of explosives, a snatched ambulance and motorcycles were also recovered from their possession, however, officials of the police and Rangers concerned were not aware of the arrests.

The timely arrest of the TTP chief and his four associates has saved the city from an impending disaster.