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August 23, 2019

Armoured vehicles with Shikarpur Police turn into coffins


August 23, 2019

SUKKUR: DSP Khanpur Rao Shafiullah was martyred and another policeman Babar Shah was injured in a botched up operation on Tuesday using substandard armoured personnel carrier (APC), which was pulversied in a dacoits’ ambush. The Shikarpur Police had launched the operation to rescue singer Jigar Jalal from the captivity of dacoits.

According to police, DSP Khanpur Rao along with SHO Imam Dino Lund and others was riding a substandard APC in the riverine area of Gharhi Taigho when it was destroyed by rocket attack of dacoits. The police had to retreat with the casualties.

Talking to The News on condition of anonymity, several police officers complained that it is horrendous that police officers are made to use the inferior quality APCs repeatedly which cannot withstand firing by steel bullets, anti aircraft guns or rockets in use by the dacoits in Shikarpur. They questioned why the police do not acquire B7 grade armour plated vehicles that can withstand lethal, penetrating fire.

Tuesday’s incident was not the only one of its kind. Since early 2019, the senior officers of the range have hurled junior police officials into the Shah Belo forest and the riverine belt along Khairpur as sacrificial lambs, with scores of deadly casualties only because the senior police command is bent upon repeatedly deploying the substandard APCs.

On June 2, at least three police officers SHO Ghulam Murtaza Mirani, ASI Zulfikar Panhwar and Lakki Ghulam Shah were killed in Shikarpur’s Shah Belo forest when their armoured personnel carrier was destroyed by dacoits. On July 15, ASI Zulfiqar was killed when his APC was attacked and damaged while pursuing dacoits in the same forest.

It defies logic as to why the inferior quality APCs have not been grounded and the commanders held accountable for the loss of lives under their command. The Sindh Police have been the focus of several inquiries for using such inferior quality APCs ever since police officers using such armoured vehicles were killed and injured during the Lyari operation in 2012. Three APCs were destroyed by the Lyari gangsters. Several top officers of Sindh Police remained under the NAB investigation for purchasing substandard APCs and bulletproof vehicles. References were also filed against them with the Accountability Court, Karachi.

It looks like the Sindh Police have little regard for lives of their junior comrades, whose families are left shattered due to the inept and insincere command. After the June 2019 disaster, procedural inquiries were ordered without any results made public or senior officers held responsible and substandard APCs were deployed again.

Meanwhile, shocking revelations have come to the fore about the Shikarpur police affairs and the recurrent failure to clear Shikarpur of dacoits. The Shikarpur district is often considered as the safe haven of criminals who defy law with sophisticated weapons, including anti aircraft guns, rockets and other latest weapons against poorly equipped and led police officers.

According to sources, over 50 police officers including DSR Ranger Abdul Jabbar Abbasi, DSP Rao Shafiullah, two SHOs were killed in the last 10 years in Shikarpur during police encounters in the thick forest of Taigo at Khanpur in Shikarpur.

According to sources, SSP Shikarpur Sajid Amir Sadozai identified some police officers who were patronising the criminals as well as some tribal chiefs who were harbouring them. He transferred several of the errant police officials to other districts all of whom managed to rejoin the force in Shikarpur with political support.

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