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Operation against outlaws continues in Kacha Jamal area

Operation against outlaws continues in Kacha Jamal area

LAHORE: An operation to clear Kacha Jamal area from the outlaws continued on Thursday.

Notorious gang leader Ghulam Rasool alias Chotoo and his 12 accomplices had surrendered to the army on Wednesday.

Local people confirmed heavy shelling late on Wednesday night on the hideouts of the gangsters who had not surrendered.

According to police officials and local residents, members of the Mazari tribe of Rojhan mediated between the army and Chotoo in the run-up to the latter’s surrender. Former federal secretary retired Major Tariq Mehmood Mazari is said to have played a significant role in ending the standoff.

Maj Tariq is a son of former caretaker prime minister Balakh Sher Mazari and father of former MNA Dost Mohammad Mazari.

The outlaws had released 24 hostage policemen on Monday night and conveyed to the army their intention to lay down arms the following morning.

Sources said the gangsters might have thought that the army would stop the operation after securing the release of policemen. The interlocutors contacted the ringleaders in the morning who again sought time for deliberations among them.

It is said the biggest point of debate was whether the army intended to continue the operation until the area was cleared or whether it was ready to leave after getting 24 policemen freed.

According to a police officer, there was a heated argument between Chotoo and other gang leaders. The army gave the gangsters more time until Wednesday morning to surrender and vowed to completely clear the area from outlaws.

The sources said the decisive moment came when Chotoo told his colleagues that he would stand by his words and surrender to the army with his own family and that of his accomplices who had been killed in encounters with police. Then Chotoo gathered all families living in the area, unfurled white flags on his boats and moved towards the army checkpost. He surrendered with 12 of his gang members, 24 women, 44 children and four elderly men.

Some ringleaders and members of other gangs – said to be around 50 – did not accompany him. Ringleaders of Sindhi gang Shartoo alias Sharr, Jaakha gang leader Bilal alias Bilali Jaakha, Baga gang, Baba Long gang and Kajlaani gang leader Khalid Kajlaani and their members refused to surrender.

A senior police officer told Dawn that the army took Chotoo and 12 members of his gang into custody and shifted them to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2016

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