Pakistani police today claimed to have foiled a major terror attack in this southern port city and arrested a top Taliban leader and his associates, who were planning the assault.
"Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's Karachi unit chief Akhtar Zaman was arrested along with three accomplices Samiullah, Fazal Karim and Munnawar Khan from the densely populated Sohrab Goth area of Karachi," city police chief Waseem Ahmed told reporters.
"The terrorists were planning for a big attack," he said, adding that police had also recovered high explosives weighing around 75 kilograms, grenades and an anti-aircraft launcher which were supposed to be used in the attack.
"It is a big breakthrough for us as we have been carrying out raids to flush out Taliban activists and leaders in the city for the last few months," Ahmed said.
He said the group was behind an attempt to attack an oil depot in Karachi last month which was foiled after an exchange of fire. Ahmed said the would-be bombers had been disguised as women and had worn burkas.
The Sohrab Goth area is dominated by the Pashtuns and Afghan refugees and is believed to be a hub of criminal and militant activities located just outside the city.
The arrests came as thousands of Pakistani troops push a major anti-Taliban offensive in the South Waziristan tribal area. Police in the garrison city of Rawalpindi also claimed to have arrested some 80 people with some of them having links with militant groups.