City Police Officer (CPO) Muhammad Shoaib has said that the extortionists are being backed by some political elements, claiming that 90 extortionists have been so far arrested in a crackdown launched to curb the menace.

Talking to the journalists here on Tuesday, the CPO disclosed that extortion collection went on unchecked in Multan for the last many years and its roots were very deep. He said that a crackdown was launched on extortionists for the first time in Multan and 90 extortionists were arrested besides registration of 60 cases against them. He said that a visible decline in extortion collection took place due to the operation. He said that some political elements patronised the extortionists and they launched a campaign against him for the crackdown on extortionists. “As long as I am CPO Multan, no one can collect extortion from poor rickshaw and wagon drivers, hotels and shops,” he declared.

To a query, he said that foolproof security arrangements were made for the protection of minorities in Multan. He added that heavy police contingents were deployed for the security of churches and full protection would be given to all minorities.

Answering another question on kidnapping of Ali Haider Gillani, he said that a group namely Al-Mansoor Group claimed the responsibility for his abduction. He added that many investigation teams worked on the case and all out efforts were being made for his recovery. He said that the accused contacted from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, in a swoop, police rounded up over 50 persons on charges of gambling, drug paddling, theft and other offences. According to details, different teams of Multan police conducted surprise raids in all areas of Multan district and arrested the outlaws red handed. Police sources said that the crackdown would continue.