Unconfirmed reports late on Tuesday suggested that the notorious Chhotu Gang may lay down their weapons and release the 24 abducted policemen, as security agencies continued to pound the gang’s hideouts with helicopter gunships’ shelling in the thick forests of Kacha Jamal all day long.
Sources said that several members of the Chhotu Gang became unwell after the police threw tear gas shells at them.
Police has not yet been able to recover any of the 24 policemen held hostage by the gang. However, the Rajanpur DPO said that they are safe and in good health.
Over 10 settlements from the area have been evacuated as security forces launch a full-throttle operation.
At least four bomb-proof tanks have also reached the Pakistan Army bunkers.
The operation involving more than 2,000 security forces has been ongoing for two weeks and the army’s push to deploy troops, artillery and helicopter gunships is an unprecedented use of force by the military in Punjab.
“We (army) had given the Chhotu gang until 2pm on Monday to surrender but they did not abide by the deadline,” said a military official based in the district of Rajanpur in southern Punjab where the battle is taking place.
“Now there is no option left but a full-scale operation, which has started.”