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60 suspects held, arms, ammunition seized during raids on Khokhar houses

60 suspects held, arms, ammunition seized during raids on Khokhar houses

ISLAMABAD: Law enforcement agencies arrested over 60 people, including Afghan nationals, and recovered arms, ammunition and explosives from the Deras of the Khokhar clan.

Officials in the police said it was an “information-based operation (IBO)” conducted by Rangers and the capital police in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The raid was planned a couple of weeks ago but postponed at the final stages several times. The raid led to the recovery of weapons and equipment, including those under the use of Nato, they added.

It may be mentioned that the Rawalpindi police and Rangers conducted a raid in the capital city last month while the latest raid in localities in Rawalpindi was jointly carried out by the Islamabad police and the Rangers.

According to the officials, the capital police were asked to get ready for an operation on Thursday night. In response, a contingent of the police, including deputy superintendents of police, gathered at a police station. Later, they were joined by more personnel who riding over 30 vehicles moved towards Khokhar House, commonly known as Khan Jee’s Dera located near Koral Chowk on Islamabad Highway in the jurisdiction of the Rawalpindi police.

During the raid, over 19 people were taken into custody and weapons recovered from their possession. Later, the law enforcement agencies moved to Ghori Town Phase V and raided another dera owned by the Khokhar clan and known as Zafar Khokhar’s dera. The officials said weapons were also recovered from the dera which led to the arrest of a few people, including Hanif Khokhar.

The team also raided Malik Yaqoob’s dera at Moza Jawa in Sihala. The officials said Yaqoob was a rival of Taji Khokhar. A fair amount of weapons and ammunition was recovered from the dera along with drone surveillance cameras, armed forces’ shoes and laptops, the officials said. Some other deras adjacent to the Expressway were also raided.

The raids continued till Friday morning and later the 60 arrested people were shifted to different areas along with the weapons. On Friday evening, the 19 people picked from Taji Khokhar’s dera were handed over to the Airport police. A contingent of the Rawalpindi police, comprising commandoes, reached the Kural police station in nine vehicles and took the custody of the suspects.

The rest of the arrested people were detained at the Kural and Sihala police stations, they said, adding separate teams had been constituted, each comprising representatives of intelligence agencies and Rangers, to interrogate the suspects.

After the raid, Taji Khokhar’s dera wore a deserted look. No one was found at the residential areas of the Khokhar clan. A wall was built around several building blocks owned by the Khokhar clan giving it the look of a fortress.

The building blocks included residential quarters of the clan and a separate block for employees. Two doors of the residential areas were locked from inside. Besides, the rooms along the gates were abandoned. A number of watchtowers for guards and gunmen were also found abandoned. However, a few people were present at the block built for the employees.

One of the men identified himself as Imtiaz and said he was the driver of Fazal Khokhar, a brother of Taji Khokhar. He said during the raid some security guards along with a few people were arrested. “I came to the dera early in the morning and was not present here during the raid.”

Another man, who refused to introduce himself, said a few guests staying in the dera were arrested. Yet another man introduced himself as Imran and in reply to a question about the raid told this reporter to leave the area. “No one would talk to you here, why you are asking about the names and details of the arrested people,” he said.

When told that there were reports that some militants and members of banned sectarian outfits had been arrested from the dera, he said, “It is better for you to leave the area as soon as possible because you are being watched.”

Meanwhile, a handout issued by the capital police said the police along with the Rangers conducted search operations in Koral and Sihala and nabbed 64 suspects, including 14 Afghan nationals.

It said a cache of explosive and weapons with liquor was also recovered. The recovery included 67 guns of different bores, more than 3,000 bullets of all types of weapons and many bottles of foreign liquor.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2015

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