RAHIM YAR KHAN-The district wildlife officer (DWO) accused DPO Dera Murad Jamali and accomplices of thrashing and firing gunshots on a Wildlife Department team after they were prevented from illegal hunting in Cholistan Game Reserve area.

Talking to media on Monday, DWO Mujahid Kaleem said that the wildlife team had intercepted 18 suspects, riding four vehicles, near Gagri. They were allegedly involved in hunting of endangered species - Chinkara deer and partridges. Instead of following the directions, the accused opened fire on the wildlife team, he alleged and adding the officials survived luckily. The accused also thrashed Wildlife Inspector Allah Nawaz, Watchman M Ashraf and guide Abid Ali, Kaleem alleged. "They, thereafter, kidnapped me and held me hostage in a land cruiser with green number plate Baloshistan-17 for half an hour and Asif Ameen, a local hotel owner, threatened to kill me," Kaleem alleged.

The DWO claimed that some of the hunters were later identified as Dera Murad Jamali DPO Khalid, Cafe Lamis owner Asif Amin, arms dealer Younus, car showroom owner Waheed, Imran Kamboh and Rana Goda while the others are yet to be identified. He said that he has got an FIR No 143/17 registered against the suspects under section 186,353,365,379,427,148,149 and 337 H (2) of Pakistan Panel code with Derawar Police, Bahawalpur. He added he has also issued a challan under Wildlife Act 18, 21 and 22 of illegal haunting in Cholistan Game Reserve area.

When contacted, Cafe Lamis CEO Asad Amin, elder brother of Asif Amin, told The Nation that some high profile personalities of Balochistan including DPO Dera Murad Jamali had arrived to visit Cholistan as his guests. He said that he had informed the district police high-ups about the movement of these guests in the area. He claimed that his guests were visiting Cholistan when DWO Mujahid Kaleem tried to arrest them but apologized later as soon as he came to know about their rank and status.

Asad said that Kaleem has implicated his guests in false case to save his position. PRO to DPO Rahim Yar Khan Umer Salim, however, denied about any intimation of Balochistan high profile personalities by the restaurant owners to the district police.

Derawar Police, on the other hand, claimed to have arrested five persons involved in firing on wildlife department officials. They were identified as Asif, Younus, Imran, Rana Godha and Abdul Waheed. Police also recovered arms from their possession. A case has been registered against the detainees at Derawar police station, Bahawalpur. Further investigation is underway.