SUKKUR: The Sindh police will be allocated Rs3.5 billion to procure anti-aircraft guns and other sophisticated arms to attain an edge over the gangs of dacoits operating in the riverine areas of Ghotki, Shikarpur and Kandhkot-Kashmore districts.

This was stated by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while speaking to the media after visiting the bereaved family of SHO Abdul Malik Kamangar in Sukkur late Sunday night.

Five police officers and personnel — DSP Abdul Malik Bhutto, SHO Mirpur Mathelo Inspector Abdul Malik Kamangar, SHO Khenju Sub-inspector Din Mohamamd Leghari, constables Jatoi Khan Pitafi and Mohammad Saleem Chachar and the DSP’s guard were killed in an encounter with gangsters in the riverine area of Ghotki district on Sunday night. Inspector Ghulam Ali Brohi and constables Aftab Ahmed Bhutto and Mumtaz Ali Soomro were wounded in the clash.

Ghotki SSP Tanvir Tunio had told the media after the encounter that around 150 gangsters had attacked the police camp set up in the area. He said the attackers had used rockets and other sophisticated weapons. It was reported that the gangsters had fired as many as 25 rockets during the battle.

CM believes gangs getting sophisticated weapons from across Sindh’s border

Acknowledging that the Sindh police lacked sophisticated weapons to counter attacks by gangs, the CM said anti-aircraft guns and other heavy weapons would be made available to the police to cleanse the riverine areas of criminal gangs. He promised that complete peace would be restored in these three districts.

He said he had entrusted the Sindh police with the task of cutting off supply of weapons to the gangs. “The weapons being used by outlaws are not coming from within Sindh; rather the supply comes from across the provincial boundary,” CM Shah revealed, adding: “We have to find out the source that is providing such sophisticated weapons to the outlaws”.

In reply to a question, he said there was nothing that could be declared ‘no-go area’ anywhere in this province.

He said no doubt Ghotki, Kandhkot-Kashmore and Shikarpur were difficult districts in terms of law and order maintenance but gangsters mostly remained within the riverine area [except while committing a crime].

The chief minister rejected the assumption that the gangs were patronised by political figures, and asked the questioner to name anyone if he knew.

Mr Shah recalled that in 2008, the law and order situation in Sindh had been worst and commuters had to travel in convoys between Sukkur and Larkana. The government waged a war against the outlaws and succeeded in restoring peace, he added.

“Still there are some issues yet to be resolved in Ghotki, Kandhkot-Kashmore and Shikarpur but our brave police officers are working to restore peace again,” said Mr Shah.

Several PPP leaders, besides IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon and other senior police officers, accompanied the CM in his visit.

IGP Memon also spoke to the media in Ghotki to explain how the police sustained such a heavy loss in their fight against gangsters.

The police always faced strong resistance from outlaws whenever an operation was launched, he said, adding that besides being better armed, the outlaws had the advantage of border proximity. He pointed out that Ghotki district shared its boundaries with two provinces.

The provincial police chief said that the government planned to build a bridge over the Indus to connect the katcha and pacca territories. Roads would also be built between different katcha areas to ensure land communication for people and police.

Referring to a proposed strategy, he said presence and movement of outlaws in the riverine areas would be effectively curbed. The strategy, he said, also focused on ensuring lesser losses to police in the face of their fight against criminals.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2022

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