Published On:Thursday, 7 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

Operation launched in southern Punjab



ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Days after the deadliest attack in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, the security forces led by Pakistan Army on Wednesday launched a targeted operation against terrorists and hardcore criminals in southern Punjab.

The army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), confirmed the launch of the coordinated operation in southern Punjab. “Coordinated operations are underway against terrorists, hardened criminals and ferraris by the law enforcement agencies including Rangers, Punjab Police, CTD, assisted by Pakistan Army in southern Punjab,” a statement issued by the ISPR said.

The terrorists have fled from different parts of the country as result of operation Zarb-e-Azb and taken refuge in the remote areas of Rohjan and Kache in Rahim Yar Khan district, the statement added.

It is pertinent to mention that this is the first direct action taken by security forces in the southern Punjab.

The operation is being led by Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Sadiq Ali, with army troops, Punjab Police, Counter-Terrorism Department and Rangers participating in
the action.

The announcement by the ISPR came days after Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chauhdry Nisar Ali Khan held a detailed meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at the GHQ. The trio had reportedly decided to continue indiscriminate action against terrorists and their facilitators in Punjab. It was reportedly decided in the meeting that the Punjab government would be informed in advance about each targeted action against terrorists in the province.

A paramilitary crackdown was launched in Punjab after the deadly Lahore bombing that killed at least 75 people at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on Easter Sunday. A military statement following the attack had said the decision to go after the terrorists in Punjab was taken at a high-level meeting headed by army chief and attended by DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and DG Military Intelligence (MI).

In a similar action in Lahore in wee hours on Wednesday, the CTD, police and other law enforcement agencies gunned down at least six suspected terrorists after an exchange of fire near Saggian Bridge in Lahore.

Acting on a tip-off, security officials cordoned off an area near Saggian Bridge and tried to overpower the suspected terrorists but they opened fire on the raiding party. The exchange of fire around for more than one hour, and resulted in the killing of six of the 10 terrorists. Police found bodies of six suspected terrorists inside the hideout, however at least their four accomplices reportedly escaped.

A senior police official told Daily Times that around five kilograms of explosives, three motorcycles, four pistols, four detonators and dozens of live bullets were seized from the hideout. According to the CTD sources, the killed terrorists belonged to Aslam Group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The security officials have launched a search operation in the adjoin areas after the incident.

On March 30, at least five suspected terrorists were killed in an encounter with CIA Nawankot police in Jubilee Town area of Lahore. Police had raided a house in LDA Avenue housing society on a tip-off and an ensuing battle had resulted in killing of five suspects. Police had seized two Kalashnikovs, three pistols, 10 grenades, 10 timed devices and maps from the site. In a gunbattle with security forces in Johan area of Kalat district on Wednesday, at least 16 suspected militants were killed and several others injured.

“Yes, 16 militants working for banned militant organisations were killed in exchange of fire with security forces in mountains of Johan area of Kalat district,” said spokesman for Balochistan government Anwarul Haque Kakar. He said several militants who succeeded in fleeing the area were also injured in the security operation. The security forces destroyed two camps of the militants in the operation, he added.

Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said that following intelligence information, security forces launched operation in mountains of Johan area which led to an exchange of fire between the security forces and the suspected militants. Sixteen militants were killed and as many as 20 others injured in the gunbattle, he said.

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