Lahore: Kidnappings on the rise in city, with an average of 5 people a day
LAHORE: Kidnapping for ransom has become the easiest way to ‘earn’ money, as the current year is seeing a swift rise in the number of abductions in the city. One reason for the rise in the crime is the failure of law enforcement agencies to track down the kidnapped people, which, in a way, encouraged criminals to snatch people.
The dream of the Punjab chief minister to protect the lives and properties of citizens could not be materialised in 2011, while the first three months of this year also saw a constant surge in crimes against properties and people.
According to the figures available with Daily Times, as many 400 cases of kidnapping have been registered till March 20. With the average of five persons per day, kidnappers continue to lift young girls, minor children, youths, government employees and traders.
Surprisingly, the crime rate has soared to an alarming level in all six police divisions.Around 2,954 kidnappings were reported in 2011, while 2010 saw 2,831 people going ‘missing’. The only successful way of retrieving the missing persons has remained, to date, ‘buying’ their loved ones back.
Sources in the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) said that a majority of the families declined to register cases and avoided police interference for the recovery of victims.
They categorised the kidnapping gangs in the city into two groups – those operating from southern Punjab and affiliated with various terrorist organisations and others formed because of poverty. They said that inter-city groups usually took the victims to their hometowns, where accessibility of law enforcers was limited due to the tribal system.
The sources said that disciplinary institutions had the authority and mechanism to trace cellular calls and locations, but these institutions do not allow relevant authorities to install the tracking mechanism and contact the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority directly in this regard.
In January this year, 22 children aged five to 10 years, seven youths, three elderly persons and 55 young girls and women were kidnapped across the city. In February, 145 kidnapping cases were registered, while the first 20 days of March saw 117 people going missing, including an army official from the Shalamar area, a Canadian national from Muslim Town and three brothers from Samanabad.
Last year, two high-profile personalities – Dr Warren Weinstein, an American national, and Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain governor Salmaan Taseer – were also kidnapped. Talking to Daily Times, DIG (investigation) admitted that the number of kidnappings had increased in the city, but claimed that not all of them were actually kidnapped. He said that domestic clashes, poverty and unemployment usually forced youngsters to leave their homes, but their parents registered kidnapping cases.