Daylight heist at UBL


LAHORE – Three armed robbers looted Rs 0.6 million from a branch of the United Bank Limited (UBL) located in Raiwind police precincts on Monday. The robbers were equipped with sophisticated weapons and carried a hand grenade. Raiwind City police have registered a case and have started an investigation. UBL is located in a busy market of Raiwind. At about noon, three young unidentified men approached the bank. Ashiq, the bank’s security guard who stood at the bank’s main door, for checking stopped the first man, who was not carrying any weapon and who after being frisked placed himself behind Ashiq. As Ashiq was frisking the second man, the one standing behind Ashiq snatched gun from Ashiq and took him on gunpoint.
Meanwhile, the other two robbers entered the bank and took some 35 men as hostages, including bank staffers and customers. One of the robbers carried a hand grenade and kept threatening the hostages that he will blow up the building if inmates resisted. The robbers then locked the staffers and the customers in the bank’s basement and fled after bagging Rs 0.6 million in cash. Robbers, while escaping locked the bank from outside with a wire lock. A UBL staffer told the police that the system, which records CCTV footage, had been out of order since March 5.
UBL sources also said that Ashiq, a night guard, was on duty as a replacement for Sarwar, the morning shift guard who had left for lunch 15 minutes before the incident. Saddar Division Police Investigations Superintendent Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said that they have taken Sarwar in their custody and have started an investigation. He said that the possibility of any bank employee’s involvement in the robbery could not be ruled out and that was why they were interrogating the security guard. To a question, he said that they could not say anything about the involvement of extremists or terrorists in the robbery but they will not rule out this possibility as well.
He said that they will investigate this incident in connection with other bank robberies which have taken place in last couple of months in the city. Raffique, a customer among the hostages, said that a hand grenade in the hand of a robber was beyond their expectations. “We were in the basement and waiting for the robbers to leave the place. We came upstairs after waiting for more than 20 minutes. We were praying for our lives and nothing else,” he said. He added that it looks as if the robbers were well aware of the bank’s map, including way of escape.