LAHORE: The Punjab Police has sent for forensic analysis the huge cache of illegal weapons recovered from the two suspects at the Dajal checkpost of Bhakkar district being allegedly smuggling them from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the Zaman Park residence of PTI chief Imran Khan in Lahore.

The Bhakkar district police claimed to have foiled the attempt to smuggle the deadly weapons concealed in inner parts a car boot.

“The suspects were transporting the illegal weapons from the outhouse of PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Zaman Park residence of PTI Chairman Imran Khan,” Bhakkar District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Naveed told Dawn.

A first information report ((FIR) had been registered against Ali Amin Gandapur and the two suspects arrested by the police from the Dajal check post, the DPO said.

Giving details of the incident, he said the officials of the law enforcement agencies had signaled a suspected car for routine identification at the checkpost. However, the car riders hit the security barriers and fled, the DPO alleged and added that an alert was issued immediately.

Weapons seized by Bhakkar police sent for forensic analysis

The personnel of the district police and Elite Force chased the car, rounded it up and arrested the two suspects, identified as Muhammad Rashid of Dera Ismail Khan and Muhammad Ijaz of Mandi Bahauddin.

During the search, the police recovered a huge cache of weapons, including 22 rifles (222 guns), 42 magazines and 181 cartridges, hidden in the boot of the car. The suspects failed to produce licences of the weapons.

The police recovered from a portion of the car’s boot 13 other guns that the suspects claimed were ‘licensed’.

During interrogation, they could not give justification of the illegal weapons and told the police officers they had picked the firearms up from the residence of Ali Amin Gandapur with a direction from him to transport them to Zaman Park.

To a question, the DPO said the Dajal check post of Bhakkar was highly sensitive point regarding smuggling of weapons, fertiliser and other goods between the KP and Punjab.

According to a media report, the suspects claimed that the weapons were owned by a private security company, which Gandapur had hired for security. They said the firearms were being taken back to Lahore from the PTI leader’s residence after the contract between him and the company ended.

DPO Naveed termed it a mystery, saying the mystery further deepened when they found out that the licences the suspects produced were issued by the Balochistan government, the weapons were picked up from the KP while the security company mentioned by them was registered with the Punjab government.

“According to the procedure, the police of the district concerned are intimated about the transportation of the weapons and the SOP (standard operation procedure) in this regard was blatantly violated before the smugglers were arrested at Dajal check post of Bhakkar police.”

The DPO said that the car used for smuggling of weapons had been seized and the police were contacting the Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab to reach its owner. Similarly, the forensic department had been engaged for the analysis of the illegal weapons recovered from the suspects.

“The suspects also submitted to the police an authority letter from the security company, which is being verified from the concerned department,” Mr Naveed said.

About the suspects, he said, they were in the custody of the police on physical remand for further questioning.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2023

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