DG KHAN/SUKKUR: Security forces led by the Pakistan Army have prepared for decisive action against a criminal gang led by Ghulam Rasool alias Chottu as the deadline given to the gangsters expired Sunday evening.
The operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Aahan, was launched towards the end of March by the Punjab police and the paramilitary Rangers to purge the Kacha Jamal area of South Punjab’s Rajanpur district of criminal gangs.
Rajanpur operation: Army takes charge of Zarb-e-Aahan, says ISPR
However, the military took over command of the operation after the gangsters killed seven policemen and seized another 24. Since Friday, helicopter gunships have been carrying out sorties, hitting hideouts of gangsters in the region.
It is reported that the Chottu gang has made a conditional surrender offer; however, the security forces have rejected all preconditions. The Punjab government has also given the go-ahead for decisive action and the security forces have called in armed drones for targeted air strikes. Curfew continued in the adjoining areas for the third consecutive day and all the roads leading to the area remained sealed.
The Punjab government on Sunday issued pictures of the 24 personnel taken hostage by the gang. Meanwhile, the security forces apprehended 10 people allegedly involved in passing on information and assistance to the criminals, and shifted them to an undisclosed location for interrogations.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and the IG Sindh ordered to beef up security in the bordering areas of the province at Kashmore and Ghotki to prevent the criminals from crossing over. Police say over 18 check posts have been established in the Kacha and Pacca areas to stop the criminals from crossing into Sindh.
Gangsters kill six, seize 15 policemen in Rajanpur
Talking to The Express Tribune, a police official from Sukkur said in view of the operation in Punjab all bordering areas have been sealed. “The DIG has ordered all SSPs in Sukkur to adopt extra measures to prevent the criminals from crossing into Sindh,” he said.
But, according to reports from Kashmore, no special measures have been taken in the bordering areas, except for establishing a couple of check posts.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2016.