LAHORE/OKARA: Police claimed on Wednesday to have killed six terrorists of Al Qaeda in an encounter and seized a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including a rocket launcher.
Okara District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Faisal Rana claimed that personnel of police and intelligence agencies raided the farmhouse of Naeem Jhakhar in village 28/2R, Kulyana Estate, on Faisalabad Road at around 2.30am. He said the raid was carried out on the basis of information received about the presence of terrorists at the place.
The official said that people present in the farmhouse detonated an explosive device and opened fire when they saw the raiding team.
The security personnel retaliated and firing from both sides continued for about three hours.
When the shooting from inside the premises stopped, the personnel entered the place and found six men dead with their weapons scattered around.
A rocket launcher with ammunition, a detonator, five Kalashnikov rifles, five sub-machine guns, explosives made in India and Russia, a suicide jacket, a mobile phone and a map of the Okara District Police Office were found.
The district police chief said two security personnel were injured in the shootout. One of them was referred to Lahore due to his critical condition.
Rescue-1122, Civil Defence and fire brigade teams also reached the place.
Computerised national identity cards found in the pockets of four of the deceased identified them as Samiullah of Shangla, Yasibur Rehman of Hangu, Amir Habib of Bannu and Saeedur Rehman of Islamabad.
The DPO said the farmhouse’s owner was acting president of Anjuman Mazareen Punjab (AMP), Kulyana Estate, and brother of the tenant farmers organisation’s former chief Saleem Jhakhar who is behind bars.
The official said the seized phone had been sent to a forensic lab for collecting more information.
Citing directives of Punjab police chief Mushtaq Sukhera, he said the first information report (FIR) of the incident would be registered at the Counterterrorism Department police station in Lahore.
The DPO said local links of the suspected terrorists would be investigated.
A medical board was conducting autopsy of the dead at the Okara District Headquarters Hospital.
Awami Workers Party (AWP) secretary general Farooq Tariq demanded an investigation into the incident and alleged that police were trying to implicate Okara military farm tenants in cases through a ‘staged encounter’.
He said police had brought six ‘terrorists’ to retired Maj Faqir Hussain’s farmhouse in Kulyana Estate in the night and killed them.
Mr Tariq denied that the terrorists were present in the outhouse of Naeem Jakhar.
He said all senior AMP leaders were already in jail on ‘false’ charges for organising ‘peaceful’ protests.
“The AWP is concerned at what appears to be a blatant attempt to implicate AMP leaders in cases of terrorism to build the case for their ongoing trial and undermine the AMP’s struggle for land rights.”
He claimed that police had taken away Naeem Jakhar’s tractor and cattle.
He said the AMP and tenants did not have any connection with any militant group. The AWP leader demanded an independent investigation into the encounter.
According to sources, police were conducting raids to arrest Naeem Jakhar.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2016