Sindh police establish 110 police pickets in Katcha areas

By Salis bin Perwaiz
May 28, 2024
Sindh Police personnel can be seen passing on a police vehicle in Karachi. — AFP/File

Sindh police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon has taken up the decades-old issue of the Katcha areas of the province seriously and ordered conducting phase-wise operations to clear the areas from criminal elements.


Moreover, 110 pickets with 800 personnel deployed have been set up to eradicate the menace of honey trap used for kidnapping citizens for ransom. A senior official talking to The News said on Monday that before coming to the present we have the knowledge of the past of Katcha areas as the history of the Katcha areas started before Partition. He said people had been residing along the Indus River since long and their first occupation was agriculture.

Moreover, the word “Katcha” transformed due to the presence of the River Indus. Away from the city area, the distance between the embankments and the River Indus widens. At some places, it is 10 to 12 kilometres, at others it is 8. Towards Ghotki, which is the left side of the river, this distance is 8 to 15 kilometres, and on the right side, where Kashmore and Shikarpur are located, it is 3 to 4 kilometres and the maximum distance is 5 kilometres.

The senior official added that when the water flow ends from high to low, the muddy areas are developed and transformed into a Katcha area. Apart from that, the dacoits residing there have also had a history and they were earlier supported by various tribes, especially from Ubauro to Thatta when the movement of police was low. Afterwards, from time to time different operations have been carried out and many of the areas have been cleared and now due to police action the area from Guddu to Sukkur has been cleared from dacoits.

Moreover, basically the issue of Katcha areas have started in the late 80s, especially after the Afghan war. Since after the war, the 1st issue that surfaced in the province is kidnapping for ransom and availability of weapons. As the issue has taken hype from time to time, to counter it law enforcers and the Pakistan Army have conducted operations in areas where the gangs have started grouping and expanded to Punjab and Balochistan’s Katcha areas.

Moreover, the law enforcers have conducted operations from time to time against these gangs, the official said and added that, another issue later these operations have resurfaced is the “Honey Trap” which is another form of kidnapping for ransom that in the past had badly affected the province of Sindh, as many of the people have been trapped under such criminal activities from Karachi till Ghotki.

The official said that, these gangs were earlier successful due to support of some Tribesmen who were likeminded to these dacoits and they used to support them. Afterwards, an operation by law enforcers has been started by Sindh police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon and it has dismantled their network and arrested several criminals who were working under the gangs of Katcha areas in Sindh. Moreover, the police chiefs of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan have made their separate plans to eliminate groups which are hiding in these areas.

IGP Memon for the past few months has also been continuously visiting Katcha areas and directing his subordinates to adopt strategies to clear these areas from the criminal gangs. Moreover, due to the continuous action the kidnapping for ransom cases have been controlled and a new pattern has been adopted by the dacoits called “Honey Trap” under which they call people and promise to sell expensive items at cheaper prices. This way they trap people from Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Multan and other cities and mostly people became victim of their trap.

In this regard, IGP Memon directed the force to stop such practices by the dacoits immediately and also ordered establishing “eye contact police pickets” in the riverine areas on the left side of Ghotki from where the dacoits usually take away victims of the honey trap to their hideouts.

The senior official said that after the orders were issued by IGP, 110 eye contact police pickets have been established there with a deployment of 800 personnel and over the last 14 months the police have foiled kidnapping bids and rescued 675 people from honey trap. They have also eliminated notorious dacoits Sattar Sheher, Panjgal Tangani, and SP Tangani and killed all eight members of the most notorious Andeer gang in police operations.

Moreover, since from 2023, 70 notorious dacoits have been eliminated, 105 arrested with injuries, 410 arrested from the four districts -- Sukkur, Ghotki, Shikarpur and Kashmore. Among the killed and arrested dacoits there were 350 for which head money was announced by the Sindh government.

Official said that recently IGP Memon reviewed the progress of the operations in Katcha areas and issued instructions that no compromise should be made regarding the protection of life, property and honour of the people.

He directed his subordinates to conduct Intelligence-based operations and create advance police posts as soon as they clear the areas from such criminal gangs. Moreover, the Sindh police have also adopted a strategy with establishing of advance camps with the Rangers Sindh and carrying out operations against the dacoits. It was also informed that the Sindh government has also provided drones and other lethal weapons to the Sindh police for carrying out operations against the dacoits and also approved a budget of Rs1.5 billion for the purchase of weapons. Due to the continuous operations, the dacoits were now trying to abduct fishermen or farmers to claim that they were still in business, but due to police action their main sources of kidnapping is damaged and sooner the areas possessed by the dacoits will be cleared.

Official said that the establishment of these pickets will also ensure peace in Katcha areas and dacoits and kidnappers will also be caught under the law, as a result of which the dacoits and criminals of Katcha will not be able to go out for the crime committed in Katcha or settled areas, while the purpose of 60 new police pickets is also to prevent the movement of criminal elements and to keep a close watch.

IGP Memon said that the strategy should be improved to eliminate dacoits and criminal elements from Katcha areas and criminal elements should be fought firmly. He said that eliminating dacoits and criminal elements and protecting the life and property of the people are one of the top priorities of Sindh police.