- Policemen kidnapped by gang in District Rajanpur’s Katcha area on May 27 have been freed.
- Tribal elders were engaged to seek their release.
- Relatives of Lünd gang chief, who were taken into custody by police, have been released in exchange for the policemen.
RAJANPUR: Two police officials kidnapped a week ago were freed by the Lünd gang after their relatives, who were in police custody, were released, Geo News reported Wednesday.
The police had engaged tribal elders to get the cops freed by the armed gang, demanding Rs2 million. They released the gang’s men in exchange for the policemen.
TheLünd gang, which captured two police officials in District Rajanpur’s Katcha area, had refused to release the abductees taken on May 27, according to a The News report.
However, police have denied reports saying the development came after a major operation was launched in the riverine area against armed gangs.
Sources said that initially, law enforcement agencies approached the tribal leaders after talks with the gangs failed.
According to The News sources, the Lünd gang demanded cash and the release of Abdul Wahid Lünd and Samad Lünd, who were in prison, in exchange for the release of the two police officials.
The report said that the Rajanpur police tried to get the policemen released through negotiations, but to no avail and then the task was given to a powerful sardar of the Mazari tribe. On behalf of the sardar, Wadera Riaz Gul Zimkani and Ali Dost spoke to all the gangs about the recovery or release of the police officials.
Behind the scene developments
According to a senior official in the home department, the Lathani and Sakhani gangs had taken an oath on the Quran that they would not kidnap police officials.
After that, all gangs, including the Sakhani, Lünd, Umrani, Lathani, and Indher gangs were asked if they had kidnapped the police officials. They all denied any involvement, except the Lünd gang.
At first, the Lünd gang had agreed to release the abducted cops, but changed their mind a day later when the CIA police arrested the sister and brother-in-law of Khuda Bukhsh Lünd.
When The News contacted Faisal Gulzar, a district police officer, he said that the negotiation stage had passed. “We have launched a full-fledged operation against the gangsters for the release of the jawans. The gangs have been besieged by the police,” he said, adding that the operation would continue till gangs were eliminated from the area.
“Around 1,000 personnel equipped with armoured personnel carriers are taking part in the operation,” said the spokesperson to the Rajanpur Police.
Previous operations against gangs
Since 2002, many operations have been conducted in the riverine areas of Rajanpur but the police has failed to curb hardcore criminals and the Lathani Gang escaped to the Katcha area of Sindh.
From 2002 to 2015, operations against the gangs were conducted, which ended after negotiations and ways of escape were given to them. In 2008, 2010 and 2013, operations were conducted with heavy contingents but desired results were not achieved.
In 2016, Operation Zarb-e-Ahan was launched by the Pakistan Army against the Chhotu Gang which surrendered along with 12 accomplices.
In 2021, another operation Raddul Sariq was initiated at the request of PTI MNA Riaz Mahmood Mazari. The hiding places were destroyed yet no one was arrested and the gangs fled to Balochistan and Sindh.
As the Rangers left the katcha areas, the gangs came back to their hideouts.
Public opinion that the gangs are supported by sardars was dispelled by MNA Sardar Riaz Mahmood Mazari who spoke at the National Assembly and demanded the restoration of peace.
He had demanded a full-fledged operation against the gangs and had held several meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, former interior minister Ijaz Shah, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and different IGPs.