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Troops seal Chhotu gang’s escape routes

Top Story

April 18, 2016

BAHAWALPUR/DG KHAN: The Operation Zarb-e-Aahan continued in the Katcha areas of Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur districts on the 20th day on Sunday, and the army sealed all escape routes of members of the notorious Chhotu gang.

The army had given the final warning and deadline to the gang members to release the hostage policemen and surrender themselves to security forces by Sunday night.On Sunday, a curfew imposed for carrying out the operation was relaxed thrice to facilitate the area people, who expressed their satisfaction after the military’s arrival in the region.

Security forces further tightened the noose against the Chhotu gang on Sunday and the police initiated action against nine local facilitators of the gang. In the Rahim Yar Khan district, Quran Khwani was held for the martyred policemen at different police stations.

Meanwhile, the local population started leaving the area in the wake of the ongoing operation against the gang in the Rojhan Tehsil of Rajanpur district.Along with their belongings, the families were seen shifting to safer places. People are opting for the western belts with their relatives around 25-30 kilometres away from the troubled spot of River Indus.

According to the locals, the area under the army operation was dominated by the Mazari tribe from River Indus to the mountainous regions of Suleiman Range in the West where the Balochistan border starts.

NNI adds: Security forces said on Sunday the gang leader had been besieged. Sources said efforts were being made to capture the gang leader, Ghulam Rasool alias Chhotu, alive.Security forces, backed by gunship helicopters, had pounded suspected positions and bunkers, set up by the gang Friday night.

News Desk adds: Speaking at a press conference in Rahim Yar Khan, IG Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera said the first phase of the operation could not succeed and expressed his grief over the loss of policemen’s lives. He said police were not playing a frontline role in the operation anymore as the Pakistan Army troops had taken over the role. He said over 100 facilitators of the Chhotu gang had been arrested so far. He said the first priority of security forces was to get the abducted policemen released alive. Photos of the policemen in captivity have also been released. Sources said some of the facilitators have also claimed affiliation with different political parties.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army continued patrolling the Katcha area throughout the Friday night. About 200 Pak Army personnel have laid siege to Katcha Jamal area. Army has also brought in its boats in the area for using them in the River Indus if a need arises.

In the Rojhan area, Katcha Thath and Lund Pattan have been declared red zone areas. In Katcha Karachi and Katcha Kamal areas, a door-to-door search was underway for the arrest of facilitators.

Sources said after the death of his son, nephew and a close aide, Chhotu is looking for dialogue with the authorities, and wanted a safe escape in exchange for the abducted policemen.SSP Ghotki Masood Bangash meanwhile said 15 police checkpoints had been established along the Punjab and Sindh border to block the escape route of the gang members.


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