Armed man holds 22 persons hostage for 15 hours

Rawalpindi – An armed man held at least 22 members of his family, including a 103-year-old ailing woman, hostage at gunpoint in his house in Officers’ Colony, Morgah in a terrifying 15-hour-long siege, sources and police said on Saturday.

The man, identified as Abdul Raheem, 35, a local contractor, is believed to be a drug addict and gambler, who also shot dead his father in law and injured a police commando as they tried to sooth and arrest him in order to get the hostages free from his custody.

The police managed to overwhelm the gunman after intense exchange of firing and arrested him in injured condition. The accused and the police commando were shifted to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital for treatment where the doctors said that their conditions were out of danger.

A case was registered against Abdul Raheem on charges of terror, kidnapping, murder, attempted murder and firing on police party. The police also recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition from possession of the gunman.

“We have saved 22 persons including 6 siblings of the gunman and a 103-year-old woman who was on ventilator after 15-hour long armed siege,” said a police officer who was leading the rescue operation.

According to the sources and the police, Abdul Raheem owned dumpers and other heavy machinery. They said that he had lost one of his excavators he put on stake in gambling and went out of control.

“He first went on rooftop of his house and tried to commit suicide and later held his wife, siblings and other family members hostage on gunpoint in his house,” they said.

On call of the locals, a heavy contingent of police headed by SP Potohar Division Syed Ali rushed to the site and tried to convince the gunman to free the hostages. However, the gunman did not listen to the police and instead opened firing on them. They said that the SP also summoned Elite Force commandoes for launching rescue operation.

In the meanwhile, Shakoor, father in law of Abdul Raheem, moved forward and requested the police to give him a chance of meeting the armed man to get the hostages freed. “As Shakoor entered the house, Abdul Raheem opened firing on him and killed him on the spot,” sources and the police said.

They said that Elite Force commando Khurram Shehzad did a bravo by trying to capture the armed man. “Seeing Khuram, Abdul Raheem opened firing and wounded him critically.

However, Khurram also retaliated and injured Raheem with a bullet,” they said.

Only after that, the police managed to arrest the armed man and shift him along with the maimed cop to DHQ for treatment.

Later, the law enforcement agencies brought all the hostages out of the house and conducted search during which they recovered a gun along with 115 bullets, 2 pistols and 3 pistol-holsters. The intense gun battle between the police and the armed man spread a wave of terror in the whole locality.

When contacted, SP Syed Ali confirmed that police had held the armed man and rescued all the 22 hostages from his captivity.

He said that the police also arrested the injured gunman and seized huge cache of arms and ammunition from his house. “I was wondering as the gunman was continuously firing on police,” he said.

Meanwhile, Regional Police Officer Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja paid a visit to DHQ Hospital where he enquired about health of the injured commando Khurram.

The RPO also gave Rs25,000 to family of the cop as expenditures for medical treatment.

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