Karachi: A top leader of the banned Punjabi Taliban, an offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was among three kidnappers killed during a police encounter in the country's financial capital, police claimed on Monday.
   
Shahid Pathan was said to be the head (Ameer) of the Punjabi Taliban in Karachi and was killed in the exchange of gunfire in which two policemen were also wounded on Sunday.
   
"We raided a house in Korangi area on Monday to recover a kidnapped businessman, Riaz Chinoy who was missing for the last three months," a police source said.
   
He said the raid was carried out in a joint operation by the crime cell and the citizens police liaison committee which follows up on kidnapping for ransom cases.
   
The source said that it was after the exchange of fire that the three dead men were identified as activists of the Punjabi Taliban which was responsible for carrying out the daring attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009.
   
The Punjabi Taliban an offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban in Pakistan has been suspected of carrying number of terrorist attacks in the Punjab province with its strength mainly generated from the Southern Punjab side.
   
“For sometime now there have been clear signs that banned militant outfits have been involved in kidnapping for ransom cases and in bank robberies in order to fund their terrorist activities,” a senior police detective said.
   
In the last two weeks, police in Karachi claim to have captured top activists of the Taliban and Jundullah outfits terming the arrests as a major success in the war against terror.

(Agencies)