Rana Yousaf Wahid

HAFIZABAD - An organised band of burglars broke into a jewellery shop situated in the congested Main Bazaar and committed which is being described as the “biggest-ever” dacoity in the history of Hafizabad city, by making off with gold and gold ornaments worth Rs110 million here the other night.

All the business centres and markets remained shut in the city and its suburbs in protest against what is called “dacoits rule” in the city since the past several weeks.

According to owner of Ikhlaq Jewellers Haji Nasir and eye-witnesses’ account, more than 20 burglars, armed with sophisticated weapons and equipped with gas welding cutters, stormed the congested Main Bazaar. They caught hold of all private watchmen from Main Bazaar, Old Kutchery Bazaar, Fawara Market and adjacent localities and took hostage some 15 passersby. The culprits bound and gagged them and locked in another shop after breaking its locks. They also thrashed a tailor Abdul Hameed who offered some resistance. The burglars allegedly cut off the iron safe with gas cutter and collected gold ornaments, pure gold and jewellery worth Rs110 million. They remained in the shop for more than two hours. This biggest ever heist sent a shocking wave among the citizens particularly the businessmen. All traders’ organisations observed a complete shutdown in protest against the negligence and inefficiency of the local police which have failed to arrest the rising dacoities. It is to be noted that the City and its suburbs have witnessed an alarming surge in the incidents of dacoities, robberies and snatching since the past couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the business community took a protest rally and staged a demonstration in front of Press Club. The protesting traders also staged a sit-in at Fawara Chowk and blocked road for all kind of traffic by burning tyres for more than four hours. The pity is that Main Bazaar is located hardly 100 yards away from the City Police Station and Rescue-15 offices but due to lack of patrolling by the police, the dacoits committed dacoity in the shop by “spending” more than two hours.

The DPO, DSP and City Police SHO visited the scene and assured the victim Haji Nasir that the all-out resources would be mobilised to trace out the accused and bring them to the book.

Meanwhile, according to another report, the bandits took away cellphones etc worth Rs300,000 last night from a mobile shop in Qatal Garh here. In another incident in broad daylight in Mohallah Sharifpura, the bandits made off with cash and gold ornaments worth Rs300,000 from the house of Haji Muhammad Siddique Gujjar.

All traders organizations’ office-bearers here have vehemently condemned the police inaction and inefficiency and have called upon the higher authorities to chalk out an effective strategy to provide security to the life and property of the common man.