Karachi becoming favourite hideout of fleeing extremists

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London, Feb.21 (ANI): The recent arrest of Taliban's second-in command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar from Karachi has highlighted the fact that Pakistan's financial capital has become a favourite hide out for extremists who are on the run.

The American and British intelligence agencies have been pressing Islamabad to act against militants establishing their base in Karachi, which is also the main entry point of the supplies passing through Pakistan to Afghanistan where the NATO forces are engaged in an intense battle with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other extremist outfits.

However, Islamabad has continuously sidelined these concerns.

According to a British intelligence official, Karachi's distance from the Afghan border makes it a perfect hideout for the extremist leaders like Mullah Omar, the Taliban chief, who is also believed to be hiding in the port city.

"For various reasons they have begun to feel vulnerable in Quetta. There are too many eyes on it. We think Omar has shifted to Karachi. The size of the city and its distance from the Afghan border means it's very difficult to read. Other commanders move in and out of it when they are able," The Times quoted the official, as saying.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city is home to over 18 million people. The population includes about 2.5 million Pashtuns, the largest Pashtun population in the country outside the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Mayor of the city Syed Mustafa Kamal termed Karachi as Taliban's "revenue engine", as the insurgents are involved in organised crimes such as kidnapping, robbery and drug trafficking.

Kamal also pointed out that the Taliban would never intensify violence in the city in order to safeguard its 'supply lines'.

However, there are some people who completely reject the notion regarding Karachi turning out to be the most favoured hideaway of the extremists.There are no Taliban here in Karachi," said Mufti Mohammed Naeem, principal of the Jaamia Binoria madrassa. (ANI)

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