End of Dacoit Ghulam Chandio; a Symbol of Terror in Interior Sindh

By Maj (R) Munir Ahmed (2nd SSC)

Maj Munir Ahmed (2nd SSC) 18 FF RegtEditor’s Note: Maj Munir Ahmed was commissioned in 18 FF Regt in July 1972. After the retirement, he has settled in Lahore.

During last week of October 1988, my unit (18 FF Regt) stationed at Jhelum Cantt was asked to move to interior Sindh on a very short notice, as dacoity incidents there were on its peak. Numerous groups of dacoits were operating in interior Sindh badly disturbing the routine activities of life and business. The traffic on National Highway between Nawabshah and Hyderabad was impossible, specially at night. Law enforcing agencies would block the would shape the civil traffic into a convoys and move them under their escort to cross this dangerous portion.

My unit moved to interior Sindh where our companies were deployed at Sakrand, Qazi Ahmed, Nawabshah and Moro. My company was stationed at Sakrand. I had several meetings with Police and District Administration. Basing on the information provided to me, I carried out extensive reconnaissance to familiarize myself with the area of my operation.

Map of Sakrand, Sindh

I was still in the process of settling down, when on 5th of November, 1988 at about 2230 hours, I was informed by Police Station Sakrand that a dacoity had taken place at village Jamal Kerio about 8 KMs from my location. Within 20 minutes, I along with my Quick Response Force, comprising one JCO and 20 OR was there at the village Jamal Kerio  Assistant Commissioner and SHO were already present there with their force of about 10 people. I was told that a group of dacoits managed their entry on gun point at the house of Anwar Kerio, a big landlord and member District Council Nawabshah at sunset and after looting their valuables had taken him and his brother Umer Kerio for ransom. The dacoits asked their family for ransom of three million rupees for their release. The police party under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner Sakrand were having tea. I was told that they will carry out the operation at first light, as during dark hours, it was not possible for them to follow the foot prints of the dacoits and abductees.

The incident of dacoity took place immediately after sunset but I was informed at 2230 hours by the police intentionally because they were afraid of these dacoits. The police wanted the dacoits to enter in thick forest area along river Indus where they had their hide outs and it was quite difficult for any force to locate them as the forest along both banks of Indus is spread over miles with thick wild growth with only 5 meters visibility even during day light.

My further investigation revealed that one of the abductees, Umer Kerio, was asthma patient and it was not possible for him to keep pace with the fast-moving dacoits. Without wasting any time, I consulted the map and found that to enter into forest area, which was about 7 KM cross-country walk from the place of incident, the dacoits had to cross Rohri Canal (a big canal with 20 feet deep water) which had four bridges in that area. The Canal was about 5 KM from the place of occurrence. I blocked four crossing places by dropping three men on each bridge to deny the crossing of canal by the dacoits. I also instructed my men to fire in the air after short intervals to alarm the dacoits that the bridges were being manned and they should not try to cross it. My plan was to deny the crossing of canal by daciots and to take them to the task during day light.

Rohri Canal near Sakrand, Sindh

Whole night I kept patrolling along the canal to watch any movement. The dacoits did try to cross the bridge from two places but after finding that the bridges were manned by my armed troops, they gave up the idea and hid themselves in a field of sugarcane (It was revealed to me after the operation was over). Next morning at first light, I along with 12 OR went to the place of incident and asked the police party to start following the footprints of dacoits, led by a professional Khouji (tracker) specially arranged by police for this purpose. Following foot prints was quite a tedious and time-consuming exercise.

At about 1430 hours, the tracking party stopped near a sugarcane field and informed me that there were no foot prints after the edge of this field. They also suggested me to wind up the operation as they were very tired and going beyond that point meant futile effort. They were of the view that the dacoits had crossed the Canal before establishing blocking positions and must have reached their sanctuary. Their suggestion made me double minded but after a deliberate thought I decided to make a desperate effort to search the sugarcane field. This field was 800 meters long and 600 meters wide with thick growth of full ripe sugar canes providing visibility only up to 5 meters.

A field of thick sugar cane crop in Sindh

I decided to enter the field from one side in an extended line keeping my two parties consisting of 2 men with one LMG each on both sides of the field to take on the dacoits if they tried to get out of the field. I kept my own force on my right keeping myself in the center, with police force on my left and  started scanning the field.  We had hardly gone about 100 meters in the field when we came under indiscriminate firing of automatic weapons. We fired back at them, on which they made an attempt to run from the other side of the field where my 2 men with LMG were alert to welcome them. During this scuffle, one of the abductees, Anwar Kerio, made his escape good and reached my LMG position.

Policemen take up position in dense forest in interior Sindh

The dacoits went back into the field and gave us tough resistance. I decided to extricate from the field to avoid any unnecessary casualty. I shouted for my troops to come out of the field by adopting ‘Fire and Move’ method. We all came out of the field safely. I immediately cordoned off the field by positioning myself  with one of my LMG group. The abductee who had managed his escape good during exchange of fire, gave me quite useful information. The group of dacoits consisted of 6 dacoits. He roughly pointed out the likely position of dacoits in the field. A few hand grenades were thrown there to force them to come out of the field but it did not work. Another attempt was made to put the sugar cane field on fire but the fire could not spread due to wet ground.

My all endeavors were to force the dacoits to come out of the field during day time as darkness at night could give them the advantage. Meanwhile exchange of fire continued with some intervals. Visualizing pitch dark night ahead made me worried. I was left with only two hours of day light. I placed military and police vehicles to  cover maximum area with the instructions to the drivers to start their vehicles with their head lights on at last light. The area, I could not cover, was lit by locally arranged generators which foreseeing the situation were hired from the nearby village with bulbs and poles and fuel tanks full to their capacity.

After making all these arrangements, I felt quite relieved as I was now fully prepared to take the dacoits on even during dark hours. At last light, all the vehicles as per ordered, put their vehicle engines to start with their head lights on. The area which could not be covered by the vehicles lights was lit by the generators. This arrangement must have worried the dacoits. Now it was battle of wits and nerves. I was anticipating that they would try to break the cordon by mid night but they were very clever and made an attempt at 0430 hours in the morning when they thought my troops must be tired and exhausted. They tried to break the cordon by bringing indiscriminate firing on my 3 ton vehicle which had a LMG fixed on it. The sentry on the LMG, got a bullet in his helmet which luckily ricochet. He ducked down and the dacoits bypassed the vehicle.  I followed them along with my runner and one LMG group which I had kept with me for this very eventuality. They were still in the light of our second layer when they were hit by the bullets of my Sten gun and LMG of my men. All 6 dacoits were killed on the spot. I came to know that their leader was GHULAM CHANDIO, a notorious dacoit who was a symbol of terror in Sindh. We carried out his search and found a clipping of newspaper in his pocket, indicating his head-money amounting to Rupees One Million. During all this process, the dacoits had killed the other abductee, Umer Kerio, by shooting him at his head with a big cloth in his mouth so that his cry could not be heard by us.

The news of Ghulam Chandio’s death spread like jungle fire and people started coming from every nook and corner to see his dead body. Commissioner Sukkur Division came and embraced me with heartfelt congratulations. Ghulam Chandio was involved in number of murder, dacoity and abduction cases. It was the first and last time in my life when I gave so many autographs to many people not known to me. The Corps Commander along with GOC also visited the site the same morning and after my briefing to them, my citation for Sitara-i- Basalat was initiated. I was decorated with this honour on 26th of March, 1990. The most pleasant and cherished moment of my life was, when I was honoured with a standing ovation in GHQ Auditorium by Senior Army Officers and their families after my citation was read by Lt Gen Farrakh (then MS).


Major Munir Ahmed receiving SBt from COAS, General Mirza Aslam Beg

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  1. Mubarak Ali, Research Scholar says:

    Dear Major Munir,
    Thanks for sharing a detailed narration of your experience in anti-dacoit operation in Sindh. I’m writing a research paper title: “Kidnapping for Ransom; A Proliferating Crime in Enfeebled Socio-economic Milieu of Sindh”. Would you please like to share more of your experience to enrich my paper with references to be cited with your name.
    My email address is: kumblamumbla@gmail.com
    Mubarak Ali
    Research Scholar

    • Maj Munir Ahmed (R) says:

      Dear Mubarak Ali Saheb,
      Thank you so much for your appreciation. My stay in interior Sind has been quite short. Kidnapping for ransom was very common in those days. Big & notables of the area used to shelter them for their own vested interests. Local Police under the influence of these waderas used to provide all possible assistance to these dacoits in their execution phase. Please let me know if any specific information is required by you.

      • Mubarak Ali says:

        Dear Major Munir Ahmed,
        My simple query is as to why a Sindhi is often criminally deviant?
        I believe Sindhi populace’s hardened look is to be seen in some historical perspective. They waged guerrilla warfare against the English in the shape of Hur Movement, violently took to streets against execution of Z A Bhutto, participated in MRD, anti Mohajir moves, etc. All these episodes made common Sindhi battle hardened, and quarrelsome. Hence he developed hard attitude and lived a fugitive life in forests and kacha areas. This is how he became dacoit and area wadera used him for his narrow interests. Do you agree?

  2. Lt Saddam Awan says:

    Wonderful job, we are proud of you, sir.

  3. Lt Col (Retd) Hasnain Haider Syed says:

    Well done. You make me proud.

  4. Azam Gill, France says:

    Munir Jee,
    A thrilling and inspiring story. Without missing a single relevant detail, you prevent the story from becoming a fauji report. That, my Lahori badshah, is an accomplishment after the number of years of service you put in. Since Qaisar Rashid has already offered you a second SBt, there isn’t much point adding a third one, but the feeling is the same.

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Gill Jee,
      You have always been very generous in giving me your compliments & I really feel honoured. Thank you for your inspiring comments.

  5. Brig Karim Zia says:

    Excellent. Its an educative article for our young blood, which reveals the techniques and tactics adopted under time as well as resource compressed environments.

  6. Khawaja Khurram says:

    Dear Uncle,
    Assalamu Alaikum!
    Masha ALLAH you did a wonderful job by leading from the front & what the reward money was used for is indeed an icing on the cake. May ALLAH reward you in the Hereafter.

  7. Brig (R) Babar Aziz Beg (1st SSC) says:

    Masha Allah, you lead from the front; a proud tradition of officers of Pak Army. With Allah’s help you rid the people of the menace. May Allah Karim bless you and those under your command. You have made us proud!!

  8. Umer Waziri says:

    We’re all proud of you, Mamoon. May Allah bless you abundantly, amin.

  9. Brig ( R) Feroz Hassan Khan, USA says:

    Dear Munir,
    Proud of your services to the nation.
    Best wishes,

  10. Maj Javaid Rahim Bakhsh (retd) says:

    Dear Maj Munir,
    A job well done, mission accomplished. With your permission I’m sharing your blog on Veteran’s Own Facebook page.

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Major Javaid Rahim,
      Thank you for your appreciation. Sharing of this Post on Veterans’ Own Forum is an honour to me.

  11. Dear Maj Munir,
    Thanks for sharing. Valiant officers and men like you always do us proud; hats off. Having been associated with anti dacoit operations as Col Staff 18 Div (1992-1993), I recall a number of such daring operations launched by our teams. To complete the judicial formalities these operations had to be launched jointly with the Police who would, however, mostly caution the dacoits and give them safe exit. The Police would therefore be allowed token participation at the last moment.
    The dacoits still flourish in Sindh with moral and administrative support of some big landlords and politicians who employ them for their own vested interests. In fact they share the loot too. Such people, known as ‘Patharidars’, are still difficult to target because of their immense clout. Only sincere, unbiased and ruthless regimes at the Centre and Sindh can root out such evil. I live in some dream land; don’t I?
    Best regards.

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Gen Pervez Akmal,
      Sir, Thank you for honoring me with your gracious comment. It is good to see dreams. The days of rotten system in vogue are numbered & InshaAllah a beautiful dawn is about to come. I can see new Pakistan in very near future.

  12. What an inspiring and daring act of bravery and very well drafted. Events like these should be shared often to make people aware of the jobs Pak Army is doing besides defending our borders.

  13. Maj (R) Syed Iqbal Hussain says:

    Well done you raised the name of your platoon (Haider-3)!!

  14. Maj (R) Shabbir Ahmed, USA says:

    Dear Munir,
    Well done, you are a great man. This time once I get a chance to visit Pakistan will see you & congratulate you, IN SHA ALLAH.
    Please pay regards to entire family from all of us.

  15. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah says:

    Great, I enjoyed reading it and salute you and your team. TOBIANS are indebted and proud of you. SHABAASH!!

  16. Brig (R) Asad Hakeem says:

    Very well done, Munir.

  17. Brig (R) Tariq Saeed says:

    Well done Munir,
    We all are really proud of you. you added a feather in the cap of 2nd SSC.

  18. Shahid Hussain S Saqib says:

    ALLAH karay yeh saheeh ho, warna Pakistani Police tou hazaroun dakoo maar ker promotions, rewards aur medals lay ker phir kaye kaye daffa aik hee Dakoo ko maarti rahi hai!!

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Shahid Saheb,
      Rest assure, each & every word of the script is based on facts. There is a vast difference in working of Army & Police.

  19. Lt Col (R) Qadeer A Ch. says:

    Well done Munir.
    It was a great achievement. May Allah bless you.

  20. Maj (R) Rehmat Elahi says:

    It’s an act marvelous bravery & canalizing the situation in a commanding manner. Well don,e brother!! I must appreciate your ability to act promptly as per the situation.

  21. Brig (R) Zafar Chaudhry says:

    You make us proud. Bless you for making a difference to lives of the locals.

  22. Lt Col (R) Tariq Ahsan Ali Kiani says:

    Dear Munir,
    Very well done, we feel proud of your achievement. May God, The Almighty, reward you in the next world also. Thanks for sharing even at this belated stage.
    Regards & Allah Hafi.z

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      My Dear Tariq Kiani,
      Walikum Assalam.
      Very many thanks for your appreciation & a big Aameen to your prayer. May Allah bless us all with His infinite mercy here & hereafter.

  23. Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

    Another SBt from my side. A good deed is always rewarded. Keep amazing us with such accounts. Well done.

    • Major Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Qaiser Jee,
      Award of another S.Bt from you is as significant & important to me as the original one. I am really grateful for your generous comment.

  24. Dear Munir,
    A very daring action. We are all proud of you.
    I hope you will like the photos added by me in the article.
    By the way, did your unit get Rs. 1 Million head money of Dacoit Ghulam Chandio?

    • Maj Munir Ahmed says:

      Dear Rashid Cheema (Editor),
      Thank you very much for uploading my article. My heartfelt gratitude for your compliment. Photographs placed by you have certainly added to its beauty. My unit got the reward money & its major portion was donated to shaheeds’ families of 1971 War.

      • Dr. Sajjad Haydar says:

        Dear Munir Mamoo.
        I tagged this article three months ago with the intention to go through it. Although you narrated the entire story to us when I was studying at UET. Nevertheless, I wished to refresh it.

        Really inspiring. I have also gone through all the 44 comments and your replies. Just wish to add something on Gen Pervaiz Akmal’s comments and your reply to it.

        Yes, the change for a new Pakistan has begun. My perception may be wrong but just to share with you and others on this forum, how I see this change
        1. Free press (yes, it is still in infancy but likely to mature with time).
        2. Democracy in the country (we need continuity to be stable).
        3. Politician becoming mature and uniting for the cause of democracy; especially at the time of Dharna of Imran Khan. Their splendid maturity and unity for the continuity of the system and to resist any extra-constitutional move was remarkable. I believe this is the “New Pakistan”.
        4. I am bit gloomy on the current formation of “military courts”. I wish it would not have happened. I wish we would have faith in our Judicial System which if given support has the capability to deliver.

        These are just my own views formed over a period of time by analyzing of how nations rise and fall in the world arena. I may be wrong in it.

        Apology if I have hurt someone’s feelings.

        Sajjad (Nephew of Major Munir)

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