KARACHI: The family of a man killed in a recent operation conducted by paramilitary Rangers in Lyari insists that he had no connection to any criminal gang. Speaking to Daily Times, Rasheed Raees, a cousin of Chakar Ali, says the deceased was suffering from mental health issues. He said Ali had been under treatment for the issue at Lyari General Hospital. “Rangers have done a remarkable job by clearing Lyari of gangsters. I respect them for that. But we’re saddened to see him [Chakar Ali] remembered as a gangster after his accidental death,” he said, adding that the family did not want to lodge a police case, it just wanted the paramilitary force to admit its mistake so that Ali is remembered as what he was, and not as a terrorist. Raees said Chakar was at his home in Ali Muhammad Muhalla [of Liyari Town] when Rangers teams cordoned off the area ahead of the operation on Tuesday night. “When he left the house around 7pm, we could already hear gunshots. We tried to stop him but he said that rangers won’t harm him and left,” he said. Raees said the family later received information about Chakar’s death in the shootout. “After Chakar’s burial, we decided to temporarily move out of the area until the security situation is better,” he said. “We recognise Rangers for all the good work they have done. It is because of their efforts that peace has returned to most parts of Lyari. It must have been an accident that he [Chakar] came in between crossfire, but we want his memory to be respected,” he said. Ali Muhammad Mohalla is considered a stronghold of Lyari’s notorious gangster Ghaffar Zikri. The operation carried out overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday was in response to an earlier attack on a Rangers patrolling vehicle in which an official, Fawad Khan, got killed, while three others were wounded. Following the attack, extra contingents reached the site and cordoned off the entire area for the operation in which five suspected gangsters were killed, one of whom was identified as Chakar Ali. The bodies were later moved to Civil Hospital, Karachi, for autopsies. Three of the other four were identified as Mahar Ali, Amir Ali alias Amir Panday and Amir Ali. A Rangers spokesperson later said that all five of the deceased were hardened criminals wanted by the police in various cases. When contacted for a response on the family’s statements, the spokesperson, Major Qambar Raza, reiterated that all five men killed in the operation were hardened criminals. SSP City Sheeraz Nazir also said that deceased Chakar Ali had a criminal record, and he was an addict. Published in Daily Times, March 17th 2018.