Five gangs yet to surrender in Punjab's riverine area

Source: Published in Law & Order on Thursday, April 21, 2016

DERA GHAZI KHAN: The anti-criminal Zarb-i-Aahan operation in the riverine area of Punjab's Rajanpur district continues on Thursday, even as notorious gangster Ghulam Rasool, alias Chotoo, and his 13 men surrendered before the Pakistan Army a day earlier.

Five gangs operating in Kacha Jamal, the riverine sanctuary between Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan, did not surrender and have been putting up resistance against the security forces, police sources said.

The gangs which did not surrender are named by sources as Pehwan gang, Attaullah Pat gang with at least 20 members, Bilal Jakha gang, Baga gang and Khuda Bukhsh Lound gang.

Over 50 outlaws belonging to different gangs are suspected to be holed up inside the dense forest of Kacha Jamal, which remained besieged by security forces for around 24 days when the operation was commenced.

District police officer Ghulam Mubashar Maken told Dawn that some gangs had not surrendered as yet and put up resistance against security forces, but maintained that forces would soon get success in clearing the area.

Sources said the gangs, which had joined Chotoo in the battle against armed forces, had initially agreed to surrender along with Chotoo but owing to an internal conflict, the gangs decided to keep up resistance although Chotoo laid down arms.

The military said on Wednesday it would remain in the riverine area till it was completely cleared of all outlaws.

“This area would not be vacated till all dacoits surrender or action against them is completed. They have to be captured alive or dead,” chief military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said. “We will clear all no-go areas wherever they are existing.”

Punjab police launched the Rajanpur offensive after a go-ahead from the interior ministry. After seven police officials were killed and 24 others taken hostage, the Army announced on April 16 that it would be taking over the operation.

With additional input from Imran Gabol in Lahore.