The two policemen and a civil tracker, who were martyred in an operation against dacoits in Shikarpur district's riverbed area in Khanpur on Sunday, were laid to rest on Monday. Police officers vowed to continue the operation until the area is cleared of outlaws.
A notable feudal lord of the Sardar Tegho Khan Teghani was reportedly arrested from Karachi along with his two sons and a nephew in connection with the incident. He is known for wielding influence on the bandits of his area.
At a press conference in Shikarpur, Larkana DIG Nasir Aftab Pathan and Shikarpur SSP Ameer Saud Magsi claimed that the police have killed six bandits and arrested three of them besides injuring 12 others. The deceased and injured suspects were taken away by the bandits.
Denying accusations of starting an ill-planned and hasty operation against well armed dacoits around Garhi Tegho area along the riverbed, the officers maintained that the operation made headway for two days before the killings of the policemen. "The outlaws of Teghani, Qambrani and Jaffery tribes besides other groups infest the katcha area. Conducting an operation there was difficult but the police have secured gains," they claimed.
The officers said the chain of one of their armoured personnel carriers was broken after which the dacoits launched rocket attacks on the vehicle, killing two policemen and a civilian sitting inside it. The police rescued five other policemen who were in that vehicle, they added.
Police sources say, however, that the bodies of the martyred policemen and the other five policemen, four of whom were injured, were recovered after intervention of local influential feudal lords.
The DIG said if the riverbed area is not cleaned of the bandits, the rule of outlaws will not end in Shikarpur district. Seconding him, the SSP asserted that they would not stop before restoring peace in the riverbed area and that the sacrifices of the martyred policemen will not go in vain.
In a video statement recorded by one of the injured cops, inspector Muzamil Soomro, he praised the SSP for coming to their rescue. According to him, there were eight persons in the vehicle and three were martyred. He said the SSP himself led the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh has demanded the sacking of the Sindh IGP over the Shikarpur incident.
After condoling with the families of the martyred personnel on Monday he said "before the police operations in katcha, the dacoits of the Pacca should be eliminated".
According to him, in the past 13 years Rs753 billion have been spent on law and order in Sindh.
Sheikh alleged that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government does not want peace in the province owing to which the role of Sindh Rangers has been limited to Karachi. "People sitting in corridors of power are supporting these dacoits."
He called for an inquiry to ascertain how the bullets penetrated through the APC.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2021.