Special allowance for cops in katcha area

CM says surprising how dacoits get supply of smuggled weapons, ammunition

Photo: AFP/File

KASHMORE/ HYDERABAD: Sindh chief minister on Sunday announced ’special katcha allowance’ for policemen going after the dacoits in the riverine area (Katcha area) besides construction of fortified pickets to strengthen policing in the dacoit-infested region.

Crediting the government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for restoring law and order on the dacoit-infested highways of Sukkur and Larkana divisions after coming to power in 2008, CM Murad Ali Shah has vowed to eliminate the bandits once again from the riverine areas of the province.

Speaking to the media in Kashmore-Kandhkot district during his visit to the Katcha area and police check posts on Sunday, Murad acknowledged that the outlaws inhabiting the riverine and forest villages have once again challenged the government’s authority.

“We will crush them soon,” the chief minister asserted.

On the occasion, he announced that a special riverine allowance will be paid to the police officers operating against the outlaws, and additional pickets will be constructed in those areas to strengthen the force.

He also promised rewards for police officers instrumental in recovering kidnapped villagers.

Earlier, the chief minister presided over a law and order meeting in which he received a briefing about the situation from Inspector General Sindh Police Ghulam Nabi Memon. He recalled that when the PPP formed the government in Sindh in 2008, the highways in the region were not safe for public travel even during the daytime.

“Our government restored the rule of law and eliminated bandits,” said the CM.

He mentioned that some gangs of dacoits are currently active in Kashmore Kandhkot and are using advanced weapons.

Recently, the police recovered a cache of weapons after the killings of the Janu Indhar and Soomar Shar gangs along the Sindh-Punjab border in Ghotki district.

He added that those weapons have been sent for forensic tests to ascertain their source of supply. Although unconfirmed media reports suggest that dozens of people are held captive in Sukkur and Larkana regions, the CM was told that only 10 persons are being held hostage by the bandits.

The hostages include Farhan Ali Soomro, Jagdesh Kumar, Jai Deep Kumar, Sadaqat Hajano, Maqbool Mirani, Dr Munir Naich, Rehman Jaffri, Ahmad Ali Punjabi, Waqas Ahmad, and Asghar Bhatti.

“An ultimatum of a week has been given to the police to recover all the missing hostages” said the chief minister. He emphasised that the continuous expansion of police pickets in the riverine and forest areas is proving to be helpful as the incidents of traps laid by the outlaws to kidnap innocent people are decreasing.

“I have decided to construct more pickets so that permanent bases can supervise and contain the movement of criminals, besides providing logistical support to police during operations”, he said.

CM Murad, however, did not comment on how the police will prevent armed assaults by the outlaws on such pickets because many cops have been martyred previously in such attacks, including five policemen in November last year in Ghotki. He observed that 25 percent of the area in Ghoti, which spans over 6,083 square kilometres, is riverine and forest, with Ravnti and Jahanpur being the big-ger forests.

According to the chief minister, around 100 pick-ets have been set up in Ravnti alone, with more under construction.

He appreciated the Ghotki police for recovering 70 captives, killing 52 dacoits, and arresting 85 facilitators, besides foiling the kidnapping of 40 persons.

The CM also visited the embankments of River Indus between the Guddu and Sukkur barrages. He went to Guddu where a discharge of 467,457 cusecs, which amounts to low flood, was recorded on Sunday.

Published at Express Tribune on 31st July 2023

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