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More traders threatened by extortionists

Updated July 24, 2013

RAWALPINDI, July 23: Like Karachi, the extortionists have now started surfacing in Rawalpindi, sending a wave of panic among the traders community of the city.

A fresh incident was reported by two traders of the city who have been receiving threatening calls, letters and slips, in which the senders demand money.

Sheikh Mohammad Shafiq, a trader of wholesale market of Mughal Srai (Raja Bazar) complained to the City police that he and his neighbouring trader Kamil Hussain received separate anonymous letters last Thursday in which the extortionist demanded Rs1 million and gave a deadline of Sunday.

When contacted, Sheikh Shafiq said besides sending threatening letter, the extortionists have been making telephone calls — five to eight in a day — demanding the money.

He said similar calls had been received by Kamil Hussain who deals in ready made garments.

He is an aged person and the calls are proving worrisome for him, he said.

“I kept the extortionist engaged on phone as per the police directives.

However, after negotiation he agreed to accept Rs400,000 but did not mention the location where the amount was to be delivered,” Sheikh Shafiq said, adding he received last call on Sunday at 8:30pm.

He said when he tried to trace the caller’s whereabouts through his own sources it turned out that the calls were made from different public call offices of the city.

“Apparently, it looked as if someone has been teasing us because there was no terror group behind the phone calls,” he said.

However, the city police have registered a case on the complaint of local trader and started investigation.

It may be mentioned here that counterterrorism department Punjab had noticed nearly 100 such cases in which the wealthy businessmen of Rawalpindi had been targeted by extortionist during last nine months.

They paid a large sum of money to the extortionists after they hurled threats of killing or kidnapping. But the cases reported to the police were very few.