LAHORE - In the presence of powerful judiciary, the Lahore police executed justice in the wee hours of Monday by killing five proclaimed offenders in the Kahna police area. The police described the dead as “monsters.”

The police said they killed five gangsters during the shootout which lasted for a ‘considerable’ time. Another two criminals managed escape, according to the police. The shootout erupted minutes after the police raided their hideout in the suburbs of Lahore.

Dozens of cops who took part in the pre-dawn operation remained unhurt despite heavy crossfire. The alleged criminals were later identified as Babar alias Babri, Irfan alias Taji, Mohsin alias Mohsni, Tanvir and Imran alias Mani.

Police said those killed were notorious gangsters and had become a monster for the society. The criminals were carrying Rs1.5 head-money. They were also wanted to the police in the murder of Asif Ashraf, a PML-N ticket holder for the 2008 elections. Asif had been shot dead days before the polls in Lahore.

More than 50 cases of heinous crimes have been traced against these criminals in different police stations of Punjab, officials claimed. Police said the same gangsters were involved in killing of two policemen in Lahore as well.

A police officer, seeking anonymity, told this scribe that the criminals were in the police custody for the past couple of weeks and they were gunned down on the ‘advice’ of the top police officers. The police high-ups ordered the cops to execute justice after they were give green-single by the provincial government, he added.

As per police story, two police teams raided the house one Riaz at the Baidian Road after receiving information that some notorious gangsters were hiding there. As the police reached there, the criminals opened fire on police, triggering an armed encounter in the residential locality on early Monday.

“When the fire was stopped, five of the criminals were found shot dead with multiple bullet wounds,” a police official said. The police shifted the bodies to the morgue.

On the other hand, sources said the alleged criminals were handcuffed when they were shot down by the officials of the law enforcing agency. “There were visible torture marks on the body parts of the deceased. They were in slippers and sandals while they were brought to the morgue,” a morgue official confirmed.

Punjab IGP Khan Baig said criminals spreading terror would not be spared at any cost and brave police officers, who take action against them, would always be rewarded and encouraged, said a police spokesperson. The provincial police chief expressed these views while distributing head-money among the officers and officials for arresting hardened criminals and proclaimed offenders (POs) at the Central Police Office on Monday, he added.

“The police have no other choice except this type of aggressive policing. The courts proceedings are lengthy and very complicated. This is an effective and age-old formula to clean the society from the monsters,” an official commented on the condition of anonymity.