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KARACHI: The director general of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Wednesday agreed that the menace of street crimes was still a major challenge for his force and law enforcement agencies in the city, where a targeted operation has been under way for the past four years.

However, Maj Gen Mohammad Saeed claimed that the number of incidents of heinous crimes such as targeted killings, extortion, kidnapping for ransom etc registered a significant decline in the metropolis because of the Rangers-led targeted operation.

He said this while talking to a group of media persons at his office, according to a Rangers spokesperson.

Calls for trying street criminals under Anti-Terrorism Act

During the interaction in which he defended the performance of his organisation by presenting comparative data that suggests a significant drop in almost every crime, the Rangers chief made it clear that the paramilitary force would not allow any political party to resort to violence, take up arms or work against the integrity and solidarity of the country.

He said prior to the targeted operation, launched in Sept 2013, around Rs80 million to Rs100m extortion was collected from citizens, but in 2017 extortion cases had come down considerably.

He claimed that “no incident of terrorism” — bomb explosions or suicide bombings — occurred in the city during 2017.

He said that 45 people, including many policemen, fell prey to targeted killings in the current year.

He said the Ansarul Sharia Pakistan outfit was involved in 15 incidents of targeted killings.

The Sindh Rangers chief said Karachi was at number six in the world crime index in 2013 and now its ranking had been improved as the city stood at 52.

He said over 1,400 criminals allegedly involved in street crimes were arrested and handed over to police for further legal action in 2017.

He proposed that cases against street criminals and robbers should be registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act to curb this menace.

He hinted that the Sindh home department was working on such a proposal.

The Rangers DG said that the solution to elimination of street crimes lay in the use of modern technology.

Bike snatching/theft increased

Data provided by the Rangers revealed that incidents of snatching/theft of two-wheelers registered an increase in 2017 compared to 2016.

A total of 24,848 motorbikes were either snatched or stolen during 2016 compared to 25,038 two-wheelers snatched/stolen so far in 2017 in the provincial capital.

As many as 1,781 four-wheelers were snatched/stolen in 2016 and a total of 1,377 cars were snatched or stolen this year so far.

The number of incidents in which people lost their mobile phones stood at 35,410 in 2016 compared to snatching/theft of 28,164 mobile phones so far in the outgoing year.

According to the Rangers’ data, a total of 89 targeted killings took place in 2016 and the number was reduced to 45 in 2017.

As many as 101 cases of extortion were reported in 2016 compared to 52 such cases this year.

A total of 26 kidnapping for ransom cases took place in 2016 compared to 13 in 2017.

The data also showed that a total of 16 cases of terrorism took place in 2016 but no such incident occurred during the current year.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017