LAHORE - More than one hundred suspects were detained during midnight police operations launched in Lahore. Many among the arrested persons were proclaimed offenders who were wanted to the police in different cases of heinous crimes including homicide.

The first major search or combing operations since the start of the holy month, involving door-to-door searches, have been launched simultaneously in all the six police division of Lahore during the night hours. The divisional police officers are leading the search operations in Cantonment, City, Sadar, Iqbal Town, Civil Lines, and Model Town police divisions.

A senior police officer told The Nation Monday that more than 100 suspects were detained during the security operations. There was no specific terror threat in the metropolis, the officer added, but massive police were being mobilised to maintain peace in the holy month.

Lahore’s DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf said that the combing operations are helping police in many ways. “Our special teams have arrested more than 100 suspects including some foreign nationals during this exercise. The entire vicinity is cordoned off before the start of the police operations there,” he added.

With the start of the holy month, the city police threw a massive security blanket and launched combing operations on a daily basis to hunt down terror suspects. Officers use biometric machines and android mobile phones to verify the particulars of individuals and private vehicles.

“We have also intensified night patrolling in many parts of the metropolis. All the Dolphin Squads and police response units are patrolling on the roads to counter street criminals,” Haider Ashraf said. The crime incidents rate particularly armed robberies have decreased drastically in the metropolis since combing operations were launched, he added.

Thousands of police are deployed across the city to guard Ramazan bazaars, shopping malls, markets, mosques, Imambargahs, and worship places of minorities. Similarly, armed patrolling has been intensified around banks and commercial plazas to ensure law and order.

The combing operations began as capital city police officer Muhammad Amin Wains approved the security plan for the holy month with massive deployment of force around key government installations, business centers, shopping malls, and worship places.

Official sources said that more than 8,000 police are deployed across the city for security duties during the holy month. For this purpose, the department had to impose a complete ban on leaves and postings and transfers of policemen till Eid.

Earlier this month, Punjab inspector general of police Usman Khatak said that the police had approved a comprehensive security plan to protect at least 33,839 mosques and 2,296 Imambargahs.

According to the central police office, at least 83,824 policemen and 45,944 volunteers are deployed on security duty of 33,839 mosques and 2,296 Imambargahs across the Punjab province. Similarly, at least 1,713 walkthrough gates and 20,249 metal detectors have been provided to the police to ensure foolproof security.

In Lahore, hundreds of police commandoes are taking part in the search operations. The police also seized huge cache of firearms and narcotics during the security sweep. A police spokesman said that the city police arrested dozens of proclaimed offenders and drug dealers during the sweep.

Security and law-enforcement agencies are on high-alert in the province. The paramilitary troops are also assisting the law enforcement agencies in conducing combing operations in different districts. Most of the arrests were made during midnight raids in different districts of the Punjab province.

Last month, the provincial home department directed the district administrations to ensure extreme vigilance with massive police deployment to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-Pakistan elements.

DIG Haider Ashraf says the special security sweep and combing operations would continue on a regular basis in the provincial capital. The field officers are asked to search important buildings and offices as well besides Afghan settlements.

The provincial police have also intensified security search at the entry and exit points of the big cities. At the checkpoints, police are using latest tools to verify vehicles’ registration and to search the luggage of passengers.