The oil tankers association staged a protest on Saturday near Bilawal House — the residence of ruling party PPP’s top leadership — in Karachi’s Clifton area against the alleged kidnapping of their colleague, officials said.
According to SSP South Syed Asad Raza, Imran Afridi had recently traveled from Peshawar to Karachi. “He was honey-trapped into purchasing an excavator for which he traveled to Ghotki district’s Ranwati Katchi area and was kidnapped.” the officer said.
Police suspect the involvement of the infamous “Shar gang” in the incident. The gang has been active in carrying out abductions in the Katcha area.
“The call data record of the kidnapper’s call clearly reflected that the location of the caller was the Ranwati area of Ghotki,” SSP Raza said, adding that SSP Ghotki has been approached for the facilitation and early recovery of Afridi.
The police officer further said the oil tankers association also simultaneously held protests in the bordering area of Kashmore and Khyber Agency for the immediate recovery of the abductee.
“The kidnappers have demanded ransom money and sent videos to the relatives,” SSP Raza said.
The blockade caused by the tankers around the Bilawal House roundabout continued for at least two and a half hours. Protestors demanded the early recovery of their colleague and security for oil tankers.
Sindh police talked the protestors out of their plan to move towards the Karachi Press Club, and assured them of cooperation for the recovery of their colleague.
The oil tankers association has given an ultimatum to the authorities, warning of “extreme action” if Afridi was not recovered by Tuesday.
In September, a constable was killed and four other policemen sustained injuries from dacoits in the Katcha area in an ambush.
Katcha area gangs have posed a challenge to police. The police of Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur have been formulating strategies since July to eliminate the dacoits.
Kidnap for ransom incidents have increased this year. In some cases, victims returned home after paying a hefty amount of money to the gangs. In June, a local journalist Sher Muhammad Sahi was reportedly kidnapped from the Katcha area of Nawazabad.
Reports said Sahi, working with PTV at Sadiqabad, was going to the Nawazabad area along River Indus in his car to purchase a used tractor when some dacoits allegedly kidnapped him.
He had paid Rs3 million to secure his release.
Three DPOs of Rahim Yar Khan were transferred during the last year but none of them could counter the criminal activities of the gangs.
According to residents, the dacoits have hideouts on islands in the Indus. They have the latest weapons including rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns.
A few years ago when kidnap for ransom was at its peak by the notorious Chhottu gang, operations by police of Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, and Ghotki of Sindh proved insufficient and at last, an army operation was conducted after which the gangsters surrendered.
Earlier this year, DPO Akhtar Farooq’s spokesperson Saif Ali Wains had claimed that the criminal activities of dacoits in the Katcha area had been reduced due to the better strategy of the police.