11 killed in Kacha clash

Two cops, four bandits among casualties

Farooq Sindhu November 30, 2023
Police operations in Rahim Yar Khan’s riverine areas continue, in spite of heavy human costs. Photos: Express


Heavily armed criminals active in the Machhka riverine area near Rahim Yar Khan martyred two police personnel and five other people.

According to the police, three bandits were killed in retaliatory firing by them. The armed clash was continuing till late evening on Wednesday.

The brazen attack took place despite largescale police operations in the remote area against criminal elements challenging the rule of law. There were reports from the area of the use of rocket launchers by the attackers against armoured police vehicles.

Four policemen were injured during the exchange of fire/ They were shifted to the Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

The entire district’s police were mobilised and armoured vehicles deployed to fight the armed gang involved in the attack.

The police cordoned off the area to ensure an effective operation against the attackers. The police had launched the operation against dacoits in the Kacha area several months ago but have apparently failed to root out lawlessness.

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The goal has proved elusive despite government backing and the involvement of 11,000 personnel against gangs of hardened criminals who according to some estimates number about 100.

The operation launched in April had targeted notorious gangs, including Sukhani, Lathani, Lund, Dulani, Putt, and Bangiani, with 37 proclaimed offenders among them.

However, the police did not achieve substantial success in quelling the criminal elements, and now the emergence of new gangs like Shar and Gosh has added to the security challenges .

A local resident said family feuds were believed to be the root cause behind the formation of the gangs, leading to disruption of peace in the area.

When the family disputes escalate into acts of murder and robbery, those involved become fugitives and absconders, necessitating police action against them.

A number of police officials have died during action against the bandits.

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Complaints of activities of criminal gangs, including demands for ransom, in the riverine area along the Indus river in South Punjab have resumed despite a security operation launched over three and a half months ago with an expenditure of over Rs1 billion.

The Punjab and Sindh police had launched the operation on April 9 after a decision in this regard by the National Security Committee. The Punjab government had allocated over Rs1 billion and Sindh Rs2 billion for the purpose.

However, a number of incidents reported in recent days indicate that the operation has failed to produce the desired results like the actions launched over 20 times between 1996 and 2016 to permanently establish the writ of the state and curb lawlessness in the area.

The Kacha area in Rajanpur has long been a sanctuary for criminals with vast stretches of forest covering about 10,000 acres serving as their stronghold. The number of criminals associated with the gangs is estimated to exceed 300.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2023.


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