Pakistani security forces on Wednesday said they had foiled a plot to bomb Independence Day celebrations in Karachi after arresting a Taliban gang in Islamabad.
Militants had been planning to detonate a van loaded with explosives in the country’s largest city during Friday’s celebrations marking independence from Britain in 1947, a statement from the military said.
“In an intelligence-based operation security forces have foiled a terrorist bid planned to sabotage August 14 celebrations in Karachi,” the statement said.
The military released photos showing four men detained in the operation along with the van, a motorbike and bomb-making equipment.
Police and government paramilitary forces have been mounting an operation against militants and criminals in Karachi since September 2013.
The city of 20 million people, Pakistan’s economic capital, has been racked in recent years by criminal, ethnic, political and religious violence.
In June last year the military launched a major operation against Taliban strongholds in Pakistan’s tribal northwest aimed at ending the bloody insurgency that has plagued the country for more than a decade.
Meanwhile, a top government official in eastern Pakistan said he has fired a provincial intelligence chief and three senior police officers for failing to act against a gang that blackmailed the families of children it sexually abused.
Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab province, made the announcement late Tuesday. It comes amid widening outrage over the child sex abuse scandal involving over 270 children.