RAJANPUR: The Pakistan Army on Monday formally launched a full scale operation against the Chottu gang in Kacha Jamal area of Rajanpur, after the group refused to release the hostage policemen and surrender to security forces.
The troops backed by helicopter gunships were sent to the area after the gang inflicted heavy losses on police. Seven policemen were killed and over 20 abducted as the authorities launched the drive against criminals in the area in the aftermath of a deadly suicide bombing that killed over 60 people at a Park in Lahore.
According to Geo News the area was reverberating with explosions as the troops bombarded the hideouts of the notorious gang along the Indus river in south Punjab. An state of emergency was declared in all the hospitals of Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan district. Multan Corps Commander Lt Gen Ashfaq Nadeem visited the troops deployed in the area before the operation was finally launched.
“We (army) had given the Chotu gang until 2 p.m. today to surrender but they did not abide by the deadline,” Reuters news agency quoted a military official based in the district of Rajanpur.
“Now there is no option left but a full-scale operation, which has started. “It was unclear just how many members of the Chotu gang, blamed for hundreds of cases of kidnapping for ransom, murder and robbery, were trapped on the island, but police said their families were believed to be accompanying them.
TV footage showed army commandos firing machine guns at the island and gunship helicopters flying overhead. The army´s publicity wing announced that General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, the most senior commanding officer in the area, had arrived earlier in the day “to see preparation for impending operation against criminals”.