Islamabad, April 20 (IANS) The Pakistan Army said on Wednesday that a criminal gang that was involved in crimes in parts of Punjab province had surrendered to the security forces.
Hundreds of army troops had launched a massive operation against the “Chhotu” criminal gang last week after the police could not eliminate the gangsters.
Members of the gang were involved in crimes in southern parts of Punjab for years, according to officials. In a recent clash, the gang killed seven policemen and also held hostage two dozen police officers.
Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa told the media that head of the gang, Ghulam Rasool, who was known as Chhotu, had laid down arms and surrendered to the army along with his 13 gangsters unconditionally and all 24 hostage policemen were rescued safely.
Bajwa said families of dacoits recovered safely from the Island, where they had established their basis. He said combing operation will be carried out to cleanse the area. Chhotu will be transported and interrogated, he said.
He said there were clear guidelines to complete the operation by ensuring safe release of women, children and other hostages, adding that the army will hold its position in the area till the last robber is either taken into custody or taken out.
Bajwa said Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has lauded the army troops for carrying out a successful operation.
Officials said that many crime cases of different nature have already been registered against the Chhotu and he could be tried in civil courts.
“The army will not vacate this area until all the miscreant elements are neutralized,” Bajwa said, adding that security forces will eliminate this “no-go area” and any other such areas across the country.