LAHORE: Another encounter between gangsters and police in the tribal area of Dera Ghazi Khan, resulting in the death of a policeman and four alleged gangsters the other day exposes the situation in the troubled districts of south Punjab. These areas are located in the tribal belt from where various gangs of robbers are active and they often attack police and businesses, hampering peace and socioeconomic activities in DG Khan, sources in the Punjab Police said. In the fresh incident, the criminals of the Mareeri gang used heavy guns against police, resulting in the death of a constable of the Elite Force. The armed clash took place in the jurisdictions of Kot Mubarak police near the DG Canal, adjacent to the tribal area where the main road led to the DG Cement Factory. The reports suggested that some suspected robbers had ambushed a location about 5km from the canal site and a team, headed by an SHO, was dispatched to the crime scene. The suspects opened fire and shot dead the constable, identified as Shehryar.
Following the seriousness of the situation, additional police force arrived along with the DG Khan DPO and a DSP that cordoned off the entire area. During the heavy exchange of fire, four robbers, including Irfan Mareeri and Kashif Rind, were killed. The sources in DG Khan police claimed that these criminals were not a part Chakrani or Ladi gangs but they were members of the Mareeri gang. On Oct 26 last year, the police had killed two criminals of the same gang in an armed clash. A former district police officer (DPO) of DG Khan while sharing his experience said the district was the least developed of south Punjab with more than 70pc of its population living below the poverty line.
He said the district lacked infrastructure, basic education and healthcare services that’s why heinous crime rate was high there, especially in the tribal areas. Consequently, he added, several gangsters surfaced and they would kidnap the rich people in the settled areas for ransom. He said these gangsters were also involved in the attacks on the police and other law enforcement agencies for the last two decades. “The police operations are not the only option to bring about peace and ensure writ of state in DG Khan,” the former DPO said and added that the Punjab government should carry out rural development initiatives to meet needs of the local communities. The government must launch agricultural and livestock projects besides small enterprise productivity to improve the quality of village life, he added. The officer said currently 10 to 12 small and big gangs were operating in the tribal belt of DG Khan.