SIALKOT - After years long hunt, self-confessed don of Sialkot, Yasir Cheema alias Yasira, who carried Rs1 million reward on his head, was apprehended in an early morning raid on Daska, a senior police official said on Sunday.

Cheema was listed in the top ten proclaimed offenders, DPO Ali Mohsin told the media at his office. The godfather was wanted by the Sialkot police in over 200 cases of murder, abduction for ransom, extortion, dacoity and other heinous crimes, the senior policeman told a news conference that was attended by a large number of local lawyers, traders, journalist, ulema and representatives of civil society organisations from Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils, including Sialkot District Bar Association President Shahid Mir.

The DPO further said that they were tipped off about the presence of the criminal in Daska City, where he had to kill a local trader upon his refusal to pay him forced tax. “Cheema used to collect money by extortion from traders, well-off people, lawyers and even journalists.”

He had been staying in Dubai for the past six years on fake documents and under a forged name “Muhammad Yousaf”.

He was operating his network in Pakistan, especially in Sialkot region, from Dubai, the DPO said while adding that the accused had a sophisticated squad of snipers. The official, to a media query, said the form for Cheema’s fake identity card had been attested by a former UC nazim. Appearing at the press conference, a handcuffed Cheema said, “I was also trying to get forged CNICs for my companions staying with me in Dubai.” He said he had a valid service card of a private television. In the card, the notorious criminal has the designation of a crime reporter. According to Cheema, he also attended very sensitive press conferences addressed by senior police officials, provincial and federal ministers in Lahore and Islamabad over the last few years.

He said he used an advanced telecommunication system that helped him smoothly run his network in Pakistan from Dubai. “I used to call people from Dubai to get money by extortion.”

He said he returned a year ago and was hiding in a coalmine of Malik Naeem near Chakwal in Pothohar region. The accused confessed to having killed dozens of innocent people, and said that “don of Sialkot” and “SHO of Punjab” were his pet names. A case has been registered against him under sections 324, 353 and 13/20/65 of the Pakistan Penal Code.