Criminals kidnap 7 Pak policemen in Punjab attack

Criminals kidnap 7 Pak policemen in Punjab attack
Updated 03 May 2015

Criminals kidnap 7 Pak policemen in Punjab attack

Criminals kidnap 7 Pak policemen in Punjab attack

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Dozens of gunmen from criminal gangs kidnapped seven Pakistani police from a checkpoint in the normally peaceful province of Punjab, officials said.
The incident happened Saturday night in the Much area of Sadiqabad in Punjab province.
“Around 40 dacoits attacked the checkpost and kidnapped seven police officials,” the district police chief, Sohail Zafar Chattha, told AFP.
He said law enforcement agencies had driven bandits out of the area a few years ago but they started operating again recently, shuttling between Much and the border towns of neighboring Sindh province.
The outlaws recently killed a police officer in the town of Ghotki in Sindh.
A strong police contingent backed by armored personnel carriers was mounting an operation to rescue the seven policemen, Chattha added.
Bandits have been active in the border areas of Sindh and Punjab provinces for decades.
The military launched a full-scale operation against them in Sindh in the early 1990s but they resurfaced after successive governments failed to maintain law and order in the province.
The kidnapping, and further fighting between insurgents and the military in the northwest of the country, underscored the range of security problems facing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million, is beset by a Taleban insurgency in the northwest and a separatist insurgency in the west. Murders, kidnappings and extortion by criminal gangs are common. Sectarian violence is growing.
Sunday’s attack, by gunmen from different gangs, targeted a police checkpoint in Obaro, inside Punjab but at the intersection of three provinces, said District Police Officer Sohail Chatha.
“We have launched a rescue operation,” he said.
A statement from Sharif’s office said he took “serious notice” of the kidnapping.
Police are poorly trained, paid and equipped. Rather than instituting reforms, Sharif’s government has handed much of the responsibility for security to the powerful military, which has a history of mounting coups and is frequently accused of extrajudicial killings.
In separate developments, the military said air strikes killed 44 insurgents on Saturday in Khyber and North Waziristan, two remote, mountainous northwestern areas bordering Afghanistan.
The military said five soldiers and 27 militants were killed in fighting in Khyber on Thursday. Access to the areas is restricted and it is difficult to independently verify casualty figures.