Rawalpindi-Two most wanted criminals-cum-proclaimed offenders managed to escape after 12-hour long furious gunfight with a heavy contingent of police in the dense forest of Dhoke Baba Buland, Choha Khalsa, the limits of Police Station (PS) Kallar Syedan, sources informed The Nation on Tuesday.

Sources said that police received information from informers that two most wanted criminals-cum-POs Mansoor and Nasir had been taking refuge in thick forest of Dhoke Baba Buland along with their mother and sister.

They said the police decided to carry out a massive operation in the forest to apprehend the criminals.

A heavy contingent of police equipped with sophisticated weapons swooped into jungle at 9pm on Monday night to catch the two criminals. The police also made announcement on mega phones asking the POs to surrender but they on seeing police party opened indiscriminate firing to avoid arrest.  Police also retaliated but could not reach near the den of criminals, they said. They added after an intense exchange of fire, the police summoned more force including four sections of Elite Force commandos and pounced upon the criminals. However, the criminals gave a very tough time to police and Elite Force and finally run away, sources said.

The police, during operation, also have set a large part of forest on fire in order to pull out the criminals but in vein. At the end, the mother and sister of the two POs have surrendered before police who later have been shifted to police station for further investigation, sources said.

“Police were fully prepared to hit the criminals hard but this time the duo have overwhelmed the fully equipped police force and Elite Force commandos,” said a senior police officer while talking to The Nation on request of anonymity. He said heavy exchange of fire ensued between the law enforcers and POs. He said the operation against POs remained continue for more than 12 hours.

He said the police were determined to reach inaccessible area where the criminals have been taking refuge but intense firing on part of criminals did not allow for advancement.

He said the criminals have formed a nexus comprising members of various gangs. “The police have also cordoned off the huge area of forest to capture the POs but even then the criminals slipped away,” the police officer said.

SP Saddar Circle Capt (R) Rai Mazhar, when contacted by The Nation for his comments, confirmed an encounter between police and the POs in the forest. He said police have arrested 10 suspects into custody and moved them to police station for further investigation. “No police official or officer got harmed in exchange of fire with the criminals,” he said.