Encounters: 270 `outlaws` killed in 10 months
LAHORE, April 20 Around 260 police encounters have taken place across Punjab in the second tenure of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif since June 2008, leading to the elimination of more than 270 `criminals`.
Around 60 others were also injured in the encounters, according to official statistics available with Dawn.
After the restoration of Shahbaz government on March 31, two encounters have taken place so far in which Lahore police killed two alleged robbers in Karol Ghatti locality of Gujjarpura on April 18 and as many others in Sanda on April 19.
During the governor`s rule from Feb 25 to March 31, only one encounter took place in which two alleged robbers were killed by the elite force in Lahore.
According to the Punjab police statistics, 73 criminals and two police officials were killed in 77 encounters in the first three months of 2009.
In the corresponding period of 2008, 56 police encounters took place in which 39 criminals and four policemen were killed. Police managed to arrest 53 criminals in 2009 as compared to 29 in 2008.
A comparison of two corresponding years shows that 259 criminals were killed and 77 others injured in 299 police encounters in 2008 as compared to 209 criminals killed and 72 others injured in 247 police encounters in 2007.
In 2008, 35 police officials were killed while 89 others injured during the encounters while in 2007, 24 policemen were killed and 97 others injured during shootouts. A majority of criminals involved in encounters were robbers and kidnappers who had either killed or injured their victims.
A police official told Dawn that the police were allowed to kill the arrested suspects involved in murdering victims in cases of kidnap for ransom, robbery and attempted robbery.
He said the police followed the policy of encounters due to poor conviction rate, lack of evidence, absence of identification parade and release of arrested criminals on bails by the courts.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Shaukat Javed, while addressing a prize distribution ceremony held at the Central Police Office, had informed the participants that 338 notorious criminals had been pointed out, of whom 107 were either arrested or killed in police encounters in the province, according to a handout issued on Saturday.
A police source told Dawn that judicial inquiries into the police encounters were in progress to probe if any innocent person(s) was killed in any of the encounters.
He said out of 338 criminals wanted by the Punjab police as per recent Black Book, around 20 had been killed in encounters.
GOVERNMENT STAND Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah says the government`s standing instructions to the police are to arrest the hardened criminals and take them to task according to law.
He said during the process (of netting outlaws), the police could act against the criminals in an aggressive manner if it felt any danger.