SUKKUR: Police authorities on Saturday scrambled to cover up case of recovery a day before of a large cache of arms and ammunition from the private vehicle of a Shikarpur chieftain and leader of ruling party, and a police mobile van in his security detail, by heaping all the blame on seven suspects arrested with the arms consignment.

Sources said that the police authorities had transferred the police officials, Tariq Tareen in-charge of special squad, and his colleagues Shafaat Awan and Shamsuddin Dahar, who had intercepted the Vego and the police mobile van in Jacobabad and caught the seven suspects red-handed with the large cache of arms and ammunition.

The sources said the officials who led the raiding team were transferred overnight from Jacobabad to Ghotki district to make them an example for other overzealous officials.

They said that police had made public only a small amount of the arms and ammunition recovered from the vehicles and hidden away about 80 per cent of the cache which was not even put on record.

They said that Jacobabad police had issued a press release at 11:45pm about the arms recovery which was made at around 6pm. Police took almost five hours to change the original account of the incident in order to save the political leader who owned the Vego, they said.

They said that police had in fact tried to cover up the case by lodging the case against the seven suspects, who were produced in a Shikarpur antiterrorism court on Saturday.

Jacobabad police officials said that the seven suspects identified as Zakir Bhayo, Akhtiar Lashari, Nabeel Ahmed Bhayo, Taufique Ahmed Gujjar, ASI Imtiaz Ali Bhayo, constables Sanaullah Manganhar and Baqaullah Unnar were booked under relevant sections of Anti-Terrorism Act on a complaint lodged by SHO Ishtiaq Pathan at Mauladad police station.

They said that the ATC judge had granted physical remand of the suspects in police custody for five days.

According to the police’s press release, Jacobabad police with the help intelligence agencies intercepted the vehicle and the police mobile van and recovered one G-3 rifle with 17 magazines and one submachine gun with three magazines and 2,350 bullets of different calibers. The seven suspects were trafficking the arms, said the release.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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