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ISLAMABAD: Just over 48pc of all ‘heinous’ crimes reported to the Islamabad police since 1981 remain untraced, Dawn has learnt.

In addition, over 5,700 cases that the Islamabad police have investigated since 1981 have resulted in acquittal.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) (Legal) Azhar Shah told Dawn that suspects are acquitted due to gaps in the police investigation.

He claimed that in Islamabad, 80pc of cases are settled through compromises resulting in acquittal. DSP Shah said that settlements are taking place in compoundable as well as non-compoundable offences.

He said that the police can appeal acquittals in the high court or Supreme Court. In some cases, such as murder cases, complainants can also file appeals in superior courts, he said.

“Once an accused in acquitted in a case he or she can never be charged again in the same case, no matter what vital or important evidence is found against him or her later,” he added. However, another person can be investigated and tried in the same case.

In response to a question, DSP Shah said cases in which suspects have been acquitted were closed because their trials had been completed. He said there were no provisions in the law to re-investigate such cases to identify or trace those involved, but added that such cases should be reinvestigated as examines to track down the criminals responsible.

Details collected on ‘heinous’ crimes in the capital and police action in this regard suggest that between 1981 and May 2018, there have been 36,246 criminal activities ranging from terrorism, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping or rape, kidnapping for ransom, dacoity, robbery, burglary, auto-theft and theft reported to the police, police said.

They said that of the total, 17,434 cases (48.09pc) are untraced, 692 (1.9pc) are under investigation and 3,574 (9.86pc) have been cancelled by the police prosecution department after being found to be frivolous or unworthy of trial.

The police completed investigations and submitted charge-sheets in 14,546 (40.13pc) cases in court for trial. Of these, 5,054 (34.74pc) are in trial and 9,492 (65.25pc) have been decided. Of those decided, 5,731 (60.37pc) resulted in acquittal and 3,761 (39.62pc) resulted in convictions.

The year 2014 saw the highest number of terrorism and murder cases – 12 and 141, respectively. Police said there were 220 attempted murders in 2013, 295 kidnapping or rape cases in 2017, 27 kidnapping for ransom cases in 2010, 68 dacoities in 2014, 511 robberies in 2013, 373 burglaries in 2014, 849 vehicle thefts in 2014 and 447 general thefts in 2014.

The first case under the Anti-Terrorism Act was reported in the capital in 1998, rising to 79 by May 2018. Of the total, 13 cases (16.45pc) are untraced, three (3.79pc) are under investigation, six (7.59pc) were cancelled and charge-sheets were 57 (72.15pc) have been submitted for trial.

Of the 57 charge-sheets, 24 (42.1pc) are in trial and 33 (57.89pc) have been decided. Of the 33, 26 (78.78pc) resulted in acquittal and seven (21.21pc) in convictions.

There have been a total of 2,349 murders reported in the capital since 1981, of which 531 (22.6pc) remain untraced, 27 (1.14pc) are under investigation, 112 (4.76pc) have been cancelled, the charge-sheets for of 1,679 (71.47pc) have been submitted in court and 415 (24.71pc) are in trial.

Decisions have been made in 1,264 (75.28pc) cases, in which acquittals and convictions were announced in 876 (69.3pc) and 388 (30.69pc) cases, respectively. Police said 3,496 attempted murders were reported in the capital since 1981, of which 548 (15.67pc) remain untraced, 43 (1.22pc) are under investigation, 418 (11.95pc) were cancelled and charges for 2,487 (71.12pc) have been submitted.

Decisions have been made on 1,784 cases, of which 1,474 resulted in acquittals and 310 in convictions.

There were 3,355 cases of kidnapping or rape reported to the police, of which 191 are untraced, 159 are under investigation.

They said charge-sheets for 1,480 cases were submitted in court and 959 cases (64.79pc) have been decided. Of these, acquittals were announced in 788 cases and 171 (17.83pc) resulted in convictions.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2018