By M. Tahir Khan.
Punjab Police’s 18 days long operation miserably failed after the shahadat of seven police men and kidnapping of over 24 men in uniform. The failure of Punjab police forced the government and Punjab IGP Mushtaq Sukhera to request the help from Pakistan Army to conclude the operation to a logical end against the gangsters of South Punjab holed up in an Island alongside River Indus.
It is crucial and important for federal and provincial government to thoroughly analyze the situation why Punjab Police completely failed in managing an operation against the organized gang of just over one hundred men organized by Ghulam Rasool also popularly known with the name of Chhotu. Punjab Police’s operations raised my questions on the performance and the governance of Punjab Government and Punjab Police. The important questions highlighted after 18 days failed operation can be summed up in the following lines
Who decided an ill planned operation against Chhotu gang?
Is it Punjab Police’s own decision to launch operation or directives are coming from government to start and conclude it on priority?
Is there any recce before the actual operation launched by Punjab Police?
Who assessed what are strategic and tactical needs of Punjab Police to tackle the strength of Chhotu Gang?
Punjab Police’s claim that they did recce for many days before the actual operation started in the Kacha areas appears absolutely false, whereas it can be concluded from the results that Chhotu gang was well aware of Punjab Police’s preparations and their strategic limits that is why they were able to abduct over twenty police men and killed seven. Punjab police entered into operation without proper planning to maintain supply line in respect of ammunition, food, fresh re enforcement of police force and even commanders of Punjab Police were completely failed to work out what were their strengths and weaknesses of gang.
The commanders from the Punjab Police never thought of using help from Pakistan Army or any other military source, even though they have no restrictions to get help as Police has very limited resources in respect of gunship helicopters, bullet proof boats and heavy equipments like the use of artillery. As we look into the preparations of Pakistan Army against the criminals in the area, we can witness from the media reports that Army Operation Commanders stationed in Rajanpur after their initial recce decided to get the help of Gunship helicopters, called artillery units, bullet proof boats to get access of Kachaa area without avoiding any direct damage from the criminals.
Punjab police also mismanaged the whole operation by not implementing some commonly used practices, like blockage of communication between Chhotu gang and some of their helpers in the surrounding areas. This is something which is being practiced by government on all important events in the country to deal security concerns, whereas it is just the matter of blocking communication in one single area only that appears very simple; however communication was immediately blocked after the arrival of Pakistan Army.
If we thoroughly look into the preparations of Punjab Police, their result was zero, whereas Pakistan Army prepared everything as per requirement and their actual feasibility to deal with the gangsters in just two days.
This situation shows lack of leadership and planning capacities in Punjab Police who were leading the operation or there might be some other reasons like political pressure from the political leaderships of Punjab government or from other political high ups of the Rajanpur. Additionally, reports are also emerging from some sections of the media that Ghulam Rasool (Chhotu) remained continuously under political protection of the leaders of the area who also provide them shelter and cover from police as well in the last one decade, however now after the emergence of conflict this operation is being conducted against Chhotu gang.
However, the emergence of Pakistan Army into this operation also highlights the need of operations by Rangers and Army into other parts of Punjab to tackle down the support network of terrorism present in the province. This failure of Punjab police also verified the earlier operations of Army and Rangers in Punjab conducted after Lahore blast in Gulshan e Iqbal Park that left around 85 people dead.
Operation in Ranjapur by Pakistan Army will be concluded in next one or two days, however, failed operation by police took down the tall claims of Punjab Government on good governance and no go areas, also paved the way for further military/rangers operations in Punjab wherever it is needed.