Karachi: The federal interior minister on Thursday told the national assembly that the first phase of the law enforcement agencies’ operation in Karachi was over and 9,000 suspects were arrested during crackdowns over the past two months.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the interior minister, said that the first phase was over and now the second phase of the operation was in progress in this restive city, which has gone through years of contract killings on a political, sectarian, and ethnic basis.

Some of the arrested suspects confessed that they had murdered 20 to 25 people and claimed their affiliations with the political groups or parties, Khan said.

Khan said that the first phase was over and now the second phase was in progress but the third one would be quite intense. He also expressed his satisfaction over the results of the operation so far, claiming that the security situation was better in the city compared to before the operation.

He also claimed that security agencies were ahead of their targets and all set for the operation. The minister appreciated the role of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) saying the party played a big role in making the operation a success.

The minister also acknowledged in the lower house of the parliament that there were some five to six men who were missing and he would look into the matter personally.

MQM got the complaint that many of their workers were picked up by the law enforcement agencies extra judicially and their whereabouts were still not known.

Khan said that he was not able to tell the house how long the operation would last but said it would not span many years but would be finished in months. Khan also acknowledged the role of intelligence agencies which played a key role in making the situation better.

The minister would visit this city and call on the different political parties leaders in the coming days to get their feedback.

In Karachi, a high level security meeting was held at the headquarters of paramilitary rangers. Director General rangers major general Rizwan Akhtar discussed the security measures during Muharram and the current wave of target killings of the different sects. The city’s police chief and district chiefs also attended the meeting.

The meeting preceded the general’s meeting with intelligence officials who briefed him about the information gathered about the recent sectarian killings, a ranger’s spokesman said.

He further said that raids were carried in different parts of the city and 28 criminals including target killers and extortionists were arrested.