ISLAMABAD: The police have said that a group allegedly involved in more than a dozen robberies in F-10, F-11, G-10 and G-11 were hiding out inside one of the drains, or nullahs, in the capital.

The police’s Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA) found the hideout near Jinnah Avenue in F-7, police officers told Dawn.

The officials said they found a makeshift room in one of the drains in the capital, with all the requirements for a bedroom and living room.

They added that the room served as a hideout for robbers, who were also keeping stolen items there before disposing of them.

The officers said the hideout was discovered after the CIA began investigating robberies committed in the capital during August and September.

More than a dozen robberies took place in the aforementioned sectors, the investigations into which were handed over to the CIA under the supervision of Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr Syed Mustafa Tanveer.

They said a team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Hakim Khan was formed, which studied the areas where the robberies took place.

They found that all the houses that were robbed were located near drains, the officers said.

Surveillance of the drains revealed that the suspects were using them to move around, and led the police to their hideout in F-7, they said.

Most of the suspects escaped when the police raided the hideout.

Although the police attempted to give chase, there were eight to 10 tributaries leading off from the drain they raided, which made it difficult to follow the suspects further.

The police confiscated stolen items and later arrested two people.

The police said that the suspects told police during interrogation that they were part of a five-member group.

They quoted the suspects as saying that the remaining three members of the group had fled to Afghanistan after the raid.

They quoted them as saying that they stayed in a city for a few weeks and robbed several houses, and then travelled to Afghanistan with the stolen items with the help of local facilitators.

They said that houses near nullahs were chosen for robberies to be carried out at sunset and sunrise.

The suspects told police that they entered the houses by cutting through grills and then held residents hostage.

They told police that 10 to 15pc of the stolen items was given to local facilitators, and that they also stole vehicles and gave them to facilitators.

Police said the suspects sold gold ornaments in Afghanistan and exchanged Pakistani currency there as well.

Meanwhile, their facilitators would dispose of the vehicles and their shares of stolen items in areas such as Mardan, Charsadda and Malakand, they claimed.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2019