Rising crime – a headache for Karachi
KARACHI: A review of street crimes in the city reveals that the crime rate has increased drastically. In a recent looting spree, several persons lost their lives at the hands of malicious bandits. However, what is most disconcerting is the extent of the involvement of police officials in most of the cases, especially those hailing from up country.
Few of the victims of street crime narrate their tales. Anwer Aziz, a resident of PECHS, said that his wife went to the bank for withdrawing cash. On her way home, two unidentified armed persons riding on a motorcycle came and stopped her near the house and snatched Rs150,000 at gunpoint and fled. Another victim, Ali Mohammed, a taxi driver said that he was sitting inside his taxi (PH-3635) near Nasir Pump, Ibrahim Hyderi, when three people came and asked him for a ride to Pak Arab Refinery Company (PARCO), he accepted and told them to sit. During their journey, the persons snatched his cell phone, cash and other documents at gunpoint. Later they threw him out of his taxi and fled.
Abdul Arif Sheikh, who lost his sister’s jewellery a day before her marriage ceremony, was inconsolable. On his way home with his sister, two armed men riding on a motorcycle snatched Rs60,000, jewellery worth Rs175,000, three watches and cell phones and escape.
A resident of Baloch Colony, Mohammed Dawood Ghori, said that he along with his family went to Red Onion restaurant to attend a cousin’s wedding. They parked his car (AGM 640) – some distance away from the restaurant. After attending the ceremony and upon reaching to the car, they found its doors opened and a man sitting inside it. He had just robbed the tape player, remote CD changer and buffer when the family came and accosted him. Upon confronting, the man pointed a pistol on the family and robbed money worth Rs9,000, one gold chain, gold necklace, cell phones, DHA service card, National Identity Card (NIC), drivers’ license etc, and fled in the car.
Several policies have been put in place in order to decrease the crime rate in the city but nothing has worked. The reason given behind this rise has been attributed to the shortage of the strength of policemen as most of them are usually deployed to various ministers, law enforcement officials or other personalities as private guards. However, these claims were found unauthentic during the two-month tenure of the former Provincial Police Officer (PPO), Sindh, Mohammed Shoaib Suddle who reduced the crime rate within a short span of time, and with the same force as well.
During Suddle’s tenure, it was seen that whenever a major robbery was committed, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned area police station was suspended and strict inquiry was initiated against him. However, it was witnessed during the past few weeks that this practice is not effective in the police department any longer. The reason for this is that the department is encircled with heavy political influence. In the past, the SHOs of the police stations were posted on merit, however, this is no longer the case. Moreover, it was also seen that those SHOs who had been posted on political bias would refuse to comply with the orders of their superiors and do what they want, a source confirmed.
Another source suggested that the SHOs should be posted on merit and should improve the detection and conviction ratio, intelligence network should be up-graded, they should know under whose patronage the crime had taken place and where they sold stolen items in the market. Moreover, investigators should also keep an eye on the suspects who are bailed out from court following the verdict of a weak case.
The city is also a witness to an upsurge in the easy availability and supply of lethal weapons which is a major contributory factor in the rise of street crime. The failure in containing the flow of illegal weapons from the up country has come under major criticism from the citizens whose lives have been threatened by the blatant display of weapons.
An unprecedented rise in street crimes has been witnessed in the city, which has greatly undermined the peace and development of this flourishing metropolitan. The menace of street crime has badly shattered the faith of the citizens who become prey to these gangs who continue to indulge in such nefarious activities without any fear of the law.