Hostage swap: Three Lashkar-i-Jhangvi men released for 8 hostage police officials

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Thursday, 18 July 2013

pollice grfThe police on Tuesday released three Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) men in exchange for the release of eight policemen held hostage by Chotu Mazari, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Sources said MPA Atif Mazari had struck the deal with Mazari’s aide Patt Umrani and secured the exchange.

On Monday, Chotu’s gang had released three civilian abductees on receipt of Rs2 million ransom.

The police hostages were released in the early hours of Tuesday morning at an agreed location.

Later, the police presented the released men in a press briefing.

Besides releasing three of Chotu’s men, known to be members of LeJ, the police also agreed to remove pickets from some river Indus islands and all but handed over the entire Kacha area to the bandits.

The bandits refused to return the weapons (12 guns) they grabbed from the policemen when they overran the pickets.

Police said their prime objective had been securing the release of the eight officials. They insisted that no other demand made by Chotu Mazari had been fulfilled.

But Chotu Mazari left a warning for the police. The released hostages said he had warned against any police interference in the kacha area. If the police wanted to maintain “good relations” with him, he had said, they should refrain from conducting any operations against his gang.

He claimed that police operations against his gang were a ruse to harass the poor. He said wheat crop was collected forcibly and later sold in the market.

The men released by the police were identified as Bashir Bakhrani, Ishaq Changwani and Razzaq Changwani. Police records show that the three men are active members of the LJ and Jash-i -Muhammad, both banned militant outfits. There unconfirmed reports that the police released a fourth man, Qaiser Kirtawani alias Jhangvi. The four men are known as Mazari’s main hit men, sources said.

Basti Maluk SHO told The Express Tribune that Kirtawani had been active in Muzaffargarh. He was also allegedly involved in the kidnapping of Dr Wazir Khan three months ago. Dr Khan was released on Monday.

The SHO said Bakhrani had been active in Bahawalpur. He allegedly distributed ransom money among Jash-i-Muhammad.

A senior official said if Chotu Mazari brought only 10 more militants of such calibre, he could potentially take control of the entire area.

Rating: 5 Read 515 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 July 2013

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