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Full Version: Lahore: Police ‘encounter’ score 31 in 50 days
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* Model Town Police claim gangsters’ associates shot at police vehicle * Citizens say image of police continues to worsen

By Adnan Lodhi

LAHORE: Model Town CIA on Sunday killed three members of the ‘Lahori Don Gang’ in the Mughalpura area, increasing the total number of criminals killed in ‘encounters’ in the past 50 days in the city to 31.

Police kill three gang members in alleged ‘encounter’
Those killed were identified as Waqas Kasho, Ramzan Jani, and ringleader Mahboob Bhola. Previously, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Pervez Rathore had announced the arrest of Kasho and Jani in a press conference. Police sources said Bhola was also in police custody prior to the encounter, but the police had not officially announced his arrest. A police official, requesting anonymity, said he failed to understand how Kasho and Jani had been killed in an ‘encounter’ if they had already been arrested.

Crossfire: According to Model Town police, Inspector Faiz took Kasho and Jani to the Mughalpura area for investigation purposes. They said three people in a car, bearing the number plate RIZ-5676, opened fire on the police to free Kasho and Jani. They said in the crossfire that followed, Kasho, Jani and Bhola were killed while no police officials were injured. Observers and citizens were of the view that the police was killing criminals instead of taking them to court, and was fooling the public with fake ‘encounters’. When contacted, Inspector Faiz did not answer his phone and the CCPO and his official spokesman were not available for comments either.

About two weeks back, the Satu Katla Police killed six members of the Mukhtar Mithu Gang in what it called an ‘encounter’. The six members of the gang had already been arrested well before the police announced their death in an ‘encounter’. The relatives of those who had been killed protested on the streets and blamed the police of conducting fake encounters, but the police refuted the claims.

Worsening reputation: According to a police official, 82 people had been killed in encounters in the past 50 days, including those killed in the outskirts of the city. Despite the government’s claims of reforming the Police Department, citizens said the image of the department continued to suffer. Arshad Mahmmod, a trader at Hall Road, said all business centres of the city relied on their own private security instead of the police. He said the police had failed to arrest the culprits of more than a dozen murders in the past month.
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