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NLC thrash forest dept officials

GUJAR KHAN, March 3: NLC staff thrashed and harassed forest ministry officials, when the latter tried to stop them from stealing tree trunks.

Abdul Qadoos Zafar, the block officer of Punjab forest department and Mohammad Shoaib forest guard, lodged their complaint before the city police officer — endorsed by the range forest officer Gujar Khan — stating that they were on a routine patrolling to check  theft of trees at Jatli section of Mandra-Chakwal Road, when they noticed two vehicles of NLC.

The NLC vehicles intercepted their bike and ten officials, including some retired officers of the army disembarked and started thrashing them, he said.

They snatched their cell phones at gun point and forcibly kidnapped them, he added.

According to the block officer, they were  first taken to the Jatli camp of NLC and there they were humiliated by a retired colonel, who continued to beat and hurl harsh threats at them.

The colonel demanded the retraction of an FIR, which they had lodged against the incident of ‘tree theft’.

Later on, according to Mr Qadoos, their wrists were tied behind their backs, blind folded and taken to an unknown location. At the unknown location they were detained for seven hours and forced to sign on blank papers.

Mr Qadoos also produced a copy of FIR No42, registered under section 379/411 PPC, PS mandra, dated February 28, 2013.

According to Ghulam Rasool, the forest guard, a raiding team of forest department accompanied by the local police guards had caught some people loading ‘already auctioned tree trunks’ on a dumper with the help of an excavator.

The police party reportedly arrested Faisal Mahmood, Mohammad Nazir, Kamran Mahmood and Mohammad Iqbal, who were trying to escape.

However, according to Abdul Qadoos, his application was lodged with the Jatli police station, regarding high handedness of the road contractor NLC, which was going unheeded.

They urged the regional police officer Rawalpindi to take action against those involved in the brutal thrashing and kidnapping incident.