Battling bandits.

WHILE urban Sindh, particularly Karachi, suffers from an epidemic of street crime, it is apparent that lawbreakers have also run amok in other parts of the province. Upper Sindh - specifically the katcha or riverine areas - suffers from an atmosphere of lawlessness, as gangs of dacoits take advantage of the difficult terrain along the Indus, as well as the government's inefficiency, to carve out fiefdoms beyond the state's reach. The deadly attack on police personnel early on Sunday in Ghotki district illustrates just how powerful the heavily armed bandits are. As per reports, a small brigade of around 150 bandits attacked a police camp which had been set up to help locate hostages who had been kidnapped by the criminals. By the time the guns had fallen silent, five policemen, including a DSP and two SHOs, had lost their lives. The bandits had targeted the law enforcers with heavy weapons, including rockets. The dacoits had also taken away the bodies of the fallen policemen, and had it not been for the intervention of 'influentials', the law enforcers' mortal remains may not have been recovered.

The dacoit problem in Sindh is not new; from the 1980s to the 1990s the bandits had unleashed a reign of terror in the province, and the military had to be deployed in 1992 to restore...

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