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Arms trafficking: Five held as large caches of guns, ammo seized

By Shabir Mir

GILGIT: Police Thursday arrested five men and seized large caches of arms and ammunition in two separate raids in Gilgit-Baltistan, thwarting possible terrorist activities in the mountainous region.

About 100 firearms and large amounts of ammunition were confiscated during the operations conducted in Chilas Town late on Wednesday and in Gilgit on Thursday.

The seizures come a month after the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) police claimed to have arrested a gang funded by Indian’s premier intelligence agency – Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)– to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which runs through G-B.

In the raid in Chilas, which was conducted following an intelligence tip off, at least 16 modern firearms along with ammunition were seized from shops located in the Chilas market.

According to police official Abdul Wakil, three suspects were also arrested. Two of these suspects hail from Swat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) while the origins of the third were not known yet.

“The suspects have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act,” Wakil said.

The arrested men were identified as Malang Jan, Sardar Ali and Imam Hadi.

Meanwhile in Gilgit, the police on Thursday raided shops located on Punyal road and recovered arms and ammunition. The raid was headed by City SHO Zahoor Ahmed.

“The raid was based on solid information [from informants],” Ahmad told the media after the raid in which he was supported by other police officilas including ASI Amed Ali.

The police arrested Hidayat, a resident of Bannu, K-P, and Mohammad Zaman of Dodshal, Diamer District. A vehicle with registration number IDJ-6377 was also impounded.

“The suspects are in lock up and an FIR has been registered,” said the SHO Ahmed, adding that further investigations are under way.

A breakdown of the weapons seized in the raid included 20 nine-millimetre pistols, 40 pistols of 30-bore calibre, 12 sub-machine guns, two “modern” repeaters, 2,500 rounds of ammunition, 60 magazines, eight forged arms licenses, two forged driving licenses, and a forged interior ministry authorisation to move the arms.

A few weeks ago, police in Gilgit had said that they had apprehended 12 members of a gang affiliated with RAW. Weapons were also recovered from their possession. The Gilgit IGP had said that the gang was working under the name of ‘Balawaristan National Front’ and that they had identified 60 other people affiliated with the group.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2017.

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