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KARACHI: An official vehicle belonging to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, which was in the use of Mayor Wasim Akhtar, was snatched at gunpoint in a Defence area on Saturday afternoon.

The incident indicates an alarming rise in the menace of street crime in the metropolis and also leaves a big question mark on the role of police who recently announced deployment of a dedicated street watch force in South district.

Officials said that the vehicle was snatched from the mayor’s family driver, Mohsin Ali, at around 3pm.

They said that the driver went to the Shahbaz Commercial area to buy some books from a shop.

Over 27 government vehicles have been snatched in the recent past

As soon as he got in the car after buying the books, three armed men travelling in a car emerged there, the police said, adding that two of them got out of their car, held him at gunpoint, snatched his mobile phone and the keys of the car.

They ordered the driver to go inside a nearby barber shop and escaped in the snatched car, said a Darakhshan police officer.

However, the suspects threw the driver’s mobile phone at some distance.

“The car was in the use of the mayor’s family,” said SSP South Omar Shahid Hamid. “The case seems to be linked with earlier snatching of government vehicles.”

A recent report prepared by the Anti-Car Lifting Cell suggested that over 27 official vehicles had been snatched mostly in Defence and Clifton area in the recent past.

The criminals had started targeting the official vehicles mainly because such vehicles did not have trackers, according to the report.

The latest incident also prompted Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to declare that the ongoing targeted operation was now being diverted to curb street crime in the metropolis, according to officials.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018