This looks like a Hollywood thriller in which 150 gangsters surround a house in a riverine area, kill five police officials with impunity, and later celebrate their victory at their dens. The news of the brutal killing of a deputy superintendent of police, two station house officers, and two constables in a gun attack by at least 150 dacoits on a police camp in the riverine area of Ghotki district early on Sunday looks like a real-life horror. More than horror, it is a slap on the government’s commitment to protect its citizens and enforce the writ of the government across the government. After burying their colleagues, the police are now preparing yet again to eliminate criminal gangs involved in the killing of the five police officials and others involved in highway robberies and kidnapping for ransom in the River Indus Katcha area. It is learned that operations will be conducted in Punjab and Sindh districts. Press reports say kidnap for ransom incidents have increased during the last several months. The recent killings of police officials occurred during an encounter between well-prepared gangs and an ill-prepared police force when the police ventured into the Raunti area to recover three hostages who were kidnapped on October 30. On Mehar Khan’s petition, a case was filed at the Ubauro police station for the recovery of Mohammad Sadiq, Mehrab, and Shahbaz Ali.
A similar operation is already ongoing in Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, and Dadu districts, but the fact remains that despite repeated law enforcement efforts, criminal elements have continued to strike back. Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and his Sindh counterpart, Murad Ali Shah, have been in the power corridors for decades and both know well how to deal with these elements. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as chief minister, continued fighting the Chhotu gang, Bosan gang and Ladha gangs. Right now, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur police are fighting to exterminate the Lund, Janu Indhar, Shar, Lathani, Bakhrani, Sikhani, Dolani, Pat Imrani, Dashti, and Bannu gangs, which are known in the katcha area for kidnapping for ransom. The previous government of Usman Buzdar established permanent checkpoints, police stations, and river bridges to assist regular police patrolling but nothing worked out permanently. So, the recipe lies in the building of the capacity of the police force and the development of the riverine areas. The gangs have shown their gun power. The residents of the riverine people claim that dacoit gangs sheltering on river islands have the latest equipment, and in the Sunday night attack, the gangs fired 150 rocket launchers on police, while the police had only armoured vehicles and outdated guns. In any case, law enforcement agencies are required to go to any length to combat these individuals. As social scientists say, using force alone does not eliminate the threat unless the root reason, extreme poverty, is addressed. With this in mind, the prime minister and provincial governments should approve development initiatives for these lawless regions. The areas lack basic amenities, such as hospitals, schools, and roads, to provide jobs for the local populace. It is hoped that the governments of Sindh and Punjab will prioritise the socioeconomic elevation of those residing in those areas of the province while simultaneously ensuring the safety and security of all others.