Rawalpindi - House robberies have become a routine in heavily guarded Westridge area as a gang of eight robbers targeted three houses in a row in street number 8 on Race Course Road, depriving the dwellers of gold, cash and other valuables, well-placed sources disclosed to The Nation on Tuesday.

Some locals opened to aerial firing, forcing the robbers to flee, eyewitnesses said. Police after receiving written complaints from victims registered the cases and started investigation.

According to sources, an eight-member gang of robbers holding pistols and daggers in their hands stormed into the house of one Sikandar, residing in street number 8, and made the entire family members hostage at gunpoint. Later, the burglars collected gold and cash worth up to Rs 4 million. After this, sources said, the robbers entered another house owned by Jawad Saboor and looted gold and cash worth Rs 1 million.

The looting spree did not end here, sources added, as the gang of armed robbers committed robbery in the third house owned by Badar Baloori and pilfered cash and other valuables. Sources informed that the looting spree was underway when a security guard made hue and cry, which caught attention of some other residents who started firing. However, the robbers managed to escape unhurt, they said. A heavy contingent of police rushed towards the crime scene and collected evidence, besides recording statements of the victims.

An eyewitness, who lived in the same area, told The Nation that the three houses were burgled by the gang of armed robbers at 2:30am. He mentioned that the robbers plundered the three houses in row in a time span of one and half hours. “The robbers were 8 to 10 in number. They were youngsters aging between 20 to 22 years old and were speaking Pashto,” the eyewitness quoted a victim house owner as saying.

Khalil Bhatti, Station House Officer (SHO) PS Westridge, when contacted by this scribe, confirmed that gang of eight robbers had plundered gold and cash from three houses. Cases were registered against the robbers and investigation was launched.

He said that police was in trouble as it did not perform patrolling in Army’s areas and the crime happened in the same street where troops have been deputed. “The robbers entered a house from a nullah passing through Westridge area,” he said. The SHO was of view that the police station was facing shortage of force. “I can’t deploy cops in every street to curb the crimes because there are many other duties police have to do,” Bhatti said.

Meanwhile, robbers committed house robbery in the house of a senior journalist in Airport Housing Society within the limits of PS Airport. According to details, the robbers made off with cash, gold and valuables. Police registered a complaint and started investigation.

Meanwhile, as many as four people sustained bullet injuries when two rival groups clashed with each other here at Dhoke Kashmirian on Tuesday. The locals shifted the injured to Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) for treatment where they were identified as Aftab, Bilal, Hassan and Naseer. Police filed a case and started investigation.

According to Sub Inspector Inayyat, who is investigating the case, a brawl occurred between two groups on some internal dispute at 3:45pm. During the fight, three boys whipped out their 30-bore pistols and started firing at their rivals injuring four people. After committing the crime, the attackers managed to flee while locals shifted the injured to BBH for medical treatment.

He added that the condition of an injured Naseer was told to be critical.

On a query, the SI said the rival groups were once friends and later cracks developed between them which led to this incident. Police on application of parents of victims lodged a case against the three attackers and started conducting raids to arrest them, he said.

The firing incident spread a wave of panic in the whole area as people preferred to stay indoor while the shopkeepers shut down their businesses.