The leader, named as “Sajjad” — also known as Kargil — was said to be a Bangladeshi who moved to Pakistan in 2009 and specialised in making IEDs and suicide jackets.
He was also the Karachi commander of Al-Qaeda in South Asia, a new branch of the global militant outfit that launched last September, a local police official said.
“The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the police raided a house in Qayyumabad neighbourhood in the eastern part of Karachi where the suspects were plotting a terrorist attack,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Umar Khatab, a senior policeman in the CID, confirmed the killings.
“Sajjad came from Bangladesh to Pakistan in 2009 and lived in Waziristan where he swore allegiance to Asim Umar, the Pakistan chief of AQIS,” Khatab told AFP.
He said the police recovered ammunition, weapons and a suicide jacket from the house after the shootout.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the details of the event with independent witnesses from the neighbourhood.
Rights activists say suspected militants who are captured are often killed in staged encounters by security forces.
Meanwhile, three paramilitary soldiers were killed and four others injured in the southwestern province of Baluchistan in an attack by unidentified gunmen.
The incident occurred around 70 kilometres (around 40 miles) north of port of Gwadar.
“Three paramilitary soldiers were killed when their vehicle was fired at in Sunster Zahiran area of Baluchistan near the Iran border,” local administration official Balach Gichki told AFP, adding that four other soldiers were wounded in the incident.
Abdul Hameed Abro, another senior administration official, confirmed the incident.
Oil and gas rich Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest but least developed province, which has long been wracked by a predominantly secular secessionist insurgency that was revived in 2004.
Pakistan has upped the ante against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants after a December 16 attack on a military-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
The country’s deadliest terror attack killed 150 people, 134 of whom were schoolchildren.
Pakistani officials have said they plan to hang 500 convicts in coming weeks, drawing protest from international human rights campaigners.
Last week, Pakistan parliamentarians approved a law for the establishment of a military court to speed up justice in terror-related cases. – AFP