Three policemen including a station house officer were killed and seven other cops were seriously injured in a shootout with a notorious desperado in village Thatha Raika tehsil Pindi Bhattian here on Saturday.

The accused also took along with him another SHO Zafar Gondal on a bike in the presence of a large number of policemen.

The encounter between proclaimed offender Sajjad alias Haji and the police of Pindi Bhattian and other stations as well as Elite Force continued for more than six hours. He is wanted in numerous cases of police shootouts, abduction for ransom, murder, dacoity and robbery.

On a tip off, SHO Syed Arif Hussain Shah along with heavy police contingent raided the village and dared the outlaw to surrender but the PO who was armed with sophisticated arms and grenades started indiscriminate firing on the police party which continued for several hours. In retaliation, the police besieged the village and opened firing. Thereupon, the accused took a refuge in a house and held a woman and two minor children at gunpoint.

As the firing discontinued for some time, the SHO and other cops entered into the house with the presumption that the PO might have been killed. As soon as the police party entered into the house, the accused started indiscriminate firing on them. Resultantly, SHO Syed Arif Hussain, Riasat Ali, Muhammad Aslam, cops of Elite Police Force, were killed on-the-spot while Abid Hussain, Shahid, Qaiser, Nasrullah, Qamar Shah, Zulifqar and Shahid Iqbal were seriously injured.

Later, he sent a message to the police for negotiation with him empty handed. Thereupon, Qamar Javed, former president of TBA Pindi Bhattian, and SHO Jalalpur Bhattian Zafar Gondal entered into the house for negotiations. He flatly told them there that he would kill all the injured and the woman and two minor children if he was not given safe passage which was allowed by them. Afterwards, he allegedly fled away by a bike of a villager by bolding SHO Jalalpur Bhattian Zafar Gondal at gunpoint. The whereabouts of Zafar Gondal has not yet been ascertained.

It was very surprising that no policeman dared to fire at the outlaw when he was fleeing. The injured policemen were removed to the THQ Pindi Bhattian, DHQ Hafizabad and Allied Hospital Faisalabad where condition of three of them is stated to be critical.

The dead bodies were shifted to the DHQ Hospital Hafizabad for autopsy. After receiving information about the deadly encounter, RPO Gujranwala Sa’ad Akhtar Bharwana, DPO Muhammad Zubair Drashak, SDPOs Pindi Bhattian and Hafizabad visited the crime scene and deputed special team to arrest the outlaw and to recover the abducted SHO at the earliest. The police have registered a case but so far failed to locate the abducted SHO and the outlaw.

TWO DIE: A married woman in Chah Anna village was shot dead by her brother for “honour” while a youth committed suicide separately.

According to police source, deceased Fatima was married to Sarfraz. She was suspected of developing illicit relations with someone of the same village. Her husband complained her brother Safdar about the character of his wife. Safdar and the deceased exchanged harsh words on the issue which infuriated the accused who allegedly shot her dead and threw her body in the Jhang Branch Canal near the village. The Saddar police Pindi Bhattian arrested the accused and have also fished out the dead body of Fatima from the canal.

A teenager Imtiaz in Hindoana village committed suicide by shooting himself in the temple with a pistol following a quarrel with his parents, who had admonished him due to his waywardness.