LAHORE – Gunmen on Thursday stormed another bank, and got away with Rs3 million cash during broad daylight robbery in the busy Shadbagh area, police sources said.

The gangsters also tortured and wounded two security guards over resistance. The police arrived at the crime scene when the robbers had escaped on motorcycles quite easily, eyewitnesses said while criticising poor police response. 

The bank-robbery, which took place at Habib Bank Limited (HBL) branch situated near Golbagh in Shadbagh police vicinity on Thursday afternoon, is said to be the 14 such incident since April last year.

Till Thursday night, the administration was going through the bank record to calculate the exact amount, the robbers took away. However, a police source said that the dacoits snatched away worth Rs 3.5 million from the bank.

“It (bank robbery) happened in just three minutes. At least seven robbers forced their entry into the bank, overpowered the security guards, and fled away with cash bags,” Faiz Ahmed, SHO Shadbagh police said. According to my information, the Sub Inspector said, the robbers took away about Rs 900,000 from the bank.

The security guards were shifted to a local hospital for medical treatment, though they sustained minor injuries. He further claimed that the gangsters were well-trained as they carried out the entire ‘operation’ within three minutes.

According to initial investigations, sources revealed, all the seven bandits were Pushtuns linked to a banned militant outfit as the experts are examining the eyewitnesses’ account and evidences collected from the crime scene.

The insiders said the police were groping in the dark as they were unable to trace the whereabouts of the militants, who had been committing bank robberies. They said different militant groups linked to a banned outfit were involved in what appeared to be well-organised bank robberies to help finance their militant wings.

Eyewitnesses told the police that six to seven gunmen stormed the branch of HBL, overpowered the security guards. They took out guns, held up the visitors and entire staff at gunpoint and escaped after collecting Rs 3 million. The gunmen did not open fire on the guards but hit them with the butts of their guns when they tried to offer resistance, police said.

Bank officials told the police that the robbers were bearded men and aged between 22 to 24 and they were wearing traditional Peshawari shoes. The police have registered the case with no arrest made so far.

The forensic experts also reached the crime scene and collected fingerprints of the accused to ascertain their identity. According to the police investigators, the CCTV camera installed in the bank was not operational.

On January 27, at least six militants struck a commercial bank in Johar Town area and escaped after collecting Rs 3.5 million in similar style during daylight robbery.

Last year, armed militants struck at least 12 branches of different private and commercial banks situated here in different parts of the Punjab Capital and snatched away millions of rupees but the police have miserably failed to nab any of the gangsters.

Ironically, despite being given proof in the shape of video clips, the cops have failed to arrest or identify any of the robbers. The modus operandi suggests that the same gang is behind all the bank dacoities, which took place in Lahore since last year, police investigators say.

The frequent bank robberies have also put a question mark on the performance of the City police as the investigators have badly failed to trace these gangs.

Though the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ahmed Raza Tahir had claimed last year that the bank robberies are controlled, this broad daylight bank robbery has exposed the tall claims of the top police officer.