LAHORE - The triple-one intelligence system, introduced by city police last year, made a major breakthrough yesterday as cops discovered a three-storey firearm factory in Lahore’s Naulakha neighbourhood.

Media crews and top police officers rushed to the site after a police patrol uncovered the secret factory on the Railways Road.

Authorities sealed the Sabri Mills and Spring Store as police arrested two owners of the illegal unit for manufacturing and smuggling firearms in the downtown. The suspects were named as Nazir Ahmad Sabri, and his brother Muhammad Asif.

Earlier, officers discovered a huge stock of firearms, weapons’ spare-parts, ball-bearings, and explosive material from the factory. Heavy police contingents including Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Amin Wains and DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf raided the illegal factory Monday afternoon.

City police chief Muhammad Amin Wains described the raid as the biggest success since the inception of triple one intelligence mechanism. Lahore police last year introduced the intelligence system, which means one officer, single information, in one month, as part of the national action plan.

Following the raid, the top cops gave a detailed briefing to the reporters about the police operations outside the factory building. “Investigations are on to capture the other accomplices of the arrested suspects. We will definitely find out where they were supplying these weapons, and who the customers are?” said the CCPO.

Police raided the illegal factory on a tip-off and discovered that the three-storey building was packed with shotguns, automatic weapons, and spare-parts. Initial investigations revealed the owners had established the factory as a “weapons repairing unit” but they started manufacturing shotguns and spare parts of firearm several months ago.

“The suspects detained during the raid had an organised network. It was a racket and the police have successfully smashed this set-up,” Wains told the media.

Asked whether the suspects were smuggling locally-made firearms to militants, the CCPO said that investigations were underway. “Since a gentleman doesn’t buy illegal shotguns in our society, we are working to know the pockets where these lethal weapons were supplied,” he added.

The officer, while elaborating the skills and expertise of the manufacturers, said the suspects used to smuggle spare-parts of firearms to dealers in Lahore and other cities. “The smuggled parts were assembled shortly before the delivery.

“Even they had special tools to print fake license numbers on the weapons,” he added.

DIG Dr Haider Ashraf, on the occasion, told reporters that the police introduced multiple initiatives last year as part of the national action plan to round up suspects and keep a strict check on their activities. “As a matter fact, the credit of today’s successful operation goes to our foot soldiers since they gathered concrete information in several days.”

As part of the triple one intelligence system, the beat officers and foot constables are bound to send an SMS with secret information to a group of senior police officers before conducting the raids.

The DIG assured the police would also interrogate the buyers and dealers of the illegal firearms as special police teams are constituted to investigate the case.

A case was registered against the owners of the factory with the Naulakha police last night. Local police are the complainant against the arrested suspects.

Also, police launched a massive search operation in different parts of the metropolis last night. A police spokesperson said that over a dozen suspects including Afghan a few nationals were taken into custody from Hanjarwal, Ravi Road, Badami Bagh, and Mughalpura areas for staying illegally. They were shifted to an unknown location for further investigation.