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April 14, 2016

Chhotu ready to surrender before army

Top Story

April 14, 2016

LAHORE: Admitting that he is a dacoit, Ghulam Rasool alias Chhotu has said he is ready to surrender to the army, but has promised to fight to death against the police that, he claims, made him criminal. 

In a brief talk with The News on Wednesday, Ghulam Rasool alias Chhotu, head of Chhotu gang based in Rajanpur, said, "We are not terrorists. We are not enemies of this country. We are landlords. We don’t want to quit our houses. Let us live." He owns 25 acres of prime agricultural land. The call dropped after a few minutes. 

It is pertinent to mention here that all the phone services were suspended in marked areas of Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and Kashmore. Only one mobile service was working properly, and Chhotu has been using it.

The spokesperson of Punjab Police Nabeela Ghazanfar claimed more than 200 facilitators belonging to Chhotu gang have been arrested. Ring leader of Chhoto gang Ali Gull Bazgeer, his brother Pandi and other companions have been killed in the limits of Harrand Police station Rajanpur. Ali Gull with his companions was trying to help out Chhotu.

On the contrary, Pahlwan Sakhani, a close friend of Chhotu says “the alleged facilitators don’t belong to them. All of us are safe and sound here with our families, some 150 people including women and children." 

Talking to The News, Sakhani said, “If the government could negotiate with Taliban, then why not with us. They will welcome those who negotiate with them. Local sardars must come for negotiation."

He alleged police have failed to bring evidence against them. The FIRs registered against them should be followed by complainants. 

According to Sakhani, locals have enemies and there are clashes among Biradaris. Police did not provide justice to them. They knocked at the doors of local Sardars, but they they dragged them into valley of crimes. 

He claimed Chhotu had managed to escape somewhere else and he is not in the area surrounded by police and Rangers. 

Nabeela strongly rejected all allegations against police, saying that it was very easy to target police and allege victimisation as a justification for one’s crimes to win sympathy. She said Chhotu carried a head money of Rs 2 million and was booked in 49 FIRs which were 100 per cent genuine. He is a hardcore criminal who should be treated as such. 

About the timing of the operation in April, she said this time was chosen due to low level in Indus River. On the other hand, Sakhani alleged police carries away local people’s wheat that is ready in April. 

Ghulam Mubashar, District Police Officer (DPO), Rajanpur claimed around 100 most wanted criminals from Rajanpur, Kashmore, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Ali Pur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan have been hiding with heavy and modern weapons. 

They even have anti-aircraft guns said the DPO, while ruling out any possibility of involvement of Balochistan Liberation Army and other terrorist organizations in the area. However, the DPO said dacoits purchased heavy and modern weapons from them as Sindh-Balochistan-Punjab border supports them, so there could be a secondary link.  These criminal are involved in heinous crimes like kidnap for ransom, he added. 

To date, four operations have been carried out against Chhto gang with little or no success so far. First operation was conducted in 2008, second in 2010, third in 2013, while a massive operation was launched against Chhotu gangs in 2015. The ongoing operation started this month with the help of rangers. 

Chhotu enjoys the support of a surprising number of Baradaris and Clans, including Mazari, Gopang, Dareshak, Chaungli, Gorchani, and Sharr from Sindh. While brink of Indus river support him to operate in Muzafargarh, Mutlan, Khan Pur, Ali Pur, Kot Mitthan, Bahwalpur, Rajan Pur, Chachra Sareef, Panjnand , Sadiqabad, etc. It is pertinent to mention here that he is known to be the kingpin of ransom and extortion where lower tier abductors sell their victims to him.