Chotu Mazari, the outlaw who has police ever since negotiations for release of hostages broke down, reported to have reached a hideout in Rakni near Barkhan district of Balochistan.
Reports that the eight police hostages are still with him have not been confirmed by police sources.
Sources said Chotu managed to slip by the police by dropping his phone in a field near Guddo barrage in Shah Wali. The police tracked the signals from the device and raided the area. However, this proved a false lead.
The police have now sealed the 50km area between Dera Mor Kashmore and Rojhan Chowk. Sources said that Chotu had been tracked to Rakni through mobile phone signals when he contacted some accomplices in Rajanpur.
Police officials said the area had been cordoned off so that Chotu, his 50 companions, eight police hostages and three civilian abductees should not move in or out of the area. Sources said there was a view in police that this way if Chotu tried to escape, he would have to leave the hostages to some local facilitators.
Tahir Khan, son of a Dr Wazir Khan who had been kidnapped three months ago by Chotu’s gang, told The Express Tribune that his father was last contacted in Rakni.
DG Khan Regional Police Officer Umar Akhtar Hayat Laleka told The Express Tribune that the police had detained several of Chotu’s facilitators.
He said, “Chotu is on the run. The police will make it difficult for him to find facilitators wherever he goes.”
He said he hoped the police hostages would be rescued soon. MPA Atif Khan Mazari told The Express Tribune that the police were on a vigilant watch. Bahawalpur DPO Sohail Habib Tajik, the operational commander against Chotu’s gang in 2011 said that one of his hideouts was at Rakni. He said when police access to Rajanpur was easier, Chotu would keep his hostages in Rakni. Tajik said Chotu had the support of local tribes in Rakni.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2013.