• Home minister, IGP to meet notables today to discuss their concerns
• Contingents of Rangers, police continue to arrive in Kashmore
• Apex Committee to meet on Friday

KARACHI / HYDERABAD: As heavy contingents of paramilitary troops continue to arrive in upper Sindh, a massive intelligence-based operation against riverine area gangs is going to be launched soon after meeting of the Sindh Apex Committee scheduled to be held later this week, it emerged on Monday.

The Sindh cabinet has already approved the operation against dacoit gangs in riverine area and an implementation plan is being worked out at the level of police, Rangers as well as Pakistan army.

Well-placed sources said that a sizeable number of Rangers and police personnel had already arrived in upper Sindh, while more troops would be reaching in the next couple of days to launch the operation in the riverine area, better known as katcha area.

They said that the date and time to launch the anti-dacoit operation would be decided on Friday at the Apex Committee meeting.

Caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar will chair the meeting, which will also be attended by V Corps Commander Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar, Rangers director general and other senior civil and military officials, the sources added.

Home minister, IGP to visit upper Sindh today

Talking to Dawn, Home Minister retired Brig Haris Nawaz said that he along with Inspector General of Police (IGP) Riffat Mukhtar Raja would visit Larkana, Shikarpur, Kashmore, Ghotki and Sukkur on Tuesday (today) to finalise the modalities of the operation.

“We will hold meeting with notables of the affected areas to address their reservations on the action against dacoits, if any,” he added.

He said that the operation would be launched indiscriminately and action would also be taken against the facilitators of the dacoits.

Meanwhile, the sources said that as per the decision of the Sindh cabinet internet and cellular phone services in the riverine area would remain suspended before and during the operation which would start with heavy firing on the hideouts of the dacoits in thick forests.

They said that riverine area was a traditional safe haven for criminals due to inaccessibility as they hid themselves in small islands of the Indus and thick forests which were no-go areas for police.

Rangers yet to enter riverine area

While contingents of Rangers have arrived in upper Sindh for a joint anti-dacoits operation with police, they have not yet entered the riverine area.

Rangers personnel were present in the Durrani Mahar police station in Kashmore district.

“We will conduct joint operations against dacoits of settled areas and those of riverine belt to control honey trap and forced kidnappings”, DIG-Larkana Javaid Jaskani told Dawn over phone.

He said it had been decided to prepare a long-term plan and Rangers would assist the police.

Another senior police officer, asking not to be named, told Dawn that the Rangers would be available for maintaining an outer cordon in the evenings to avoid attacks on police force and block supplies to dacoits.

“Dacoits have dug trenches to defend their positions. Such an operation has to be well planned and result oriented. Police can’t think of entering riverine area without armoured personnel carriers (APCs),” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023

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