Taxila: Rescue attempt sparks shootout, six killed
TAXILA: A police operation conducted to rescue a doctor being held by kidnappers in the city before dawn Thursday ended in a shootout in which the doctor, a police officer, two kidnappers and their two female family members died.
City Police Officer Azhar Hameed Khokar told newsmen later that it was a joint operation by the Taxila and Haripur police under the command of DSP Asif Gohar of Haripur who was injured in the pre-dawn encounter that took place in a densely populated area in the old part of Taxila.
CPO Khokar said the location where “the members of an inter-provincial gang of kidnappers” were holding Dr Talal Sabir was traced by monitoring the phone calls they made to negotiate their ransom demand of Rs6 million.
Dr Sabir, 34, was abducted in Haripur on December 1 while returning home from Yahya Welfare Hospital that he ran in that city.
Apparently, the heavy elite police force that descended on the kidnappers’ hiding place in armoured personnel carriers alerted the kidnappers.
They rejected police calls over megaphone to surrender peacefully and started firing indiscriminately at the police, the CPO Taxila said. Police returned the fire. SI Raja Hassnan of Taxila police was killed and DSP Gohar of Haripur police was injured in the intense encounter that followed.
Dr Mohammad Shahid of the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital disclosed that the deceased police officer had 19 bullet injuries on his body.
After silence fell, signaling an end to the encounter, the police entered the kidnappers’ hideout to find everyone inside lying dead kidnappers Ijaz Ahmed, 32, and Mohammad Babar, 30, both brothers, their mother Taj Bibi, Babar’s wife Salma and their victim, Dr Sabir.
CPO Khokar said the two brothers were “members of an inter-provincial gang of kidnappers” and had shot Dr Sabir through the neck before taking on the police force. But he did not elaborate upon the remarks.
He said the gang of kidnappers had been using females to trap the people.
He said: “The gang had no links with any terrorist group as their activities were only criminals and they were wanted by the police for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping for ransom cases.”
Mr Khokar said four of the escapees had been identified and the police teams had been constituted to arrest them.
People living in the area told the police that they had observed suspicious persons moving into the house, where the incident took place, about three months ago. They kept to themselves and never interacted with their neighbours.
A cache of arms, including pistols, hand-grenades, and Kalashnikov and other rifles, was found in the house.