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Shehryar Afridi evades question about filing of incorrect crime figures in NA

Updated January 30, 2019

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Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi speaks at the Islamabad Traffic Police headquarters on Tuesday. — INP
Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi speaks at the Islamabad Traffic Police headquarters on Tuesday. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Senior police officers, including the inspector general of police (IGP), came to the rescue of the minister of state for interior when he tried to evade a question about the submission of incorrect crime figures to the National Assembly earlier this month and claimed that crime in the city had declined.

Shehryar Khan Afridi was chief guest at a function held at the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) headquarters on Tuesday.

As the minister was leaving the venue, a journalist told him that crime rate in the capital had increased the last year but factually incorrect figures were submitted to the National Assembly on his behalf.

He was asked why he and the police claimed that the crime rate had decreased in the capital and who was responsible for the submission of the incorrect data to the house.

Mr Afridi smiled and asked the IGP to share the crime figures with the reporter. When the minister was again asked about the submission of incorrect crime figures to the assembly on his behalf, he walked away.

The IGP asked the journalist to visit his office for details. Other police officers, including an SP, told the reporter not to ask such a question.

In practice, a lawmaker submits a question to the National Assembly Secretariat which is forwarded to the ministry concerned.

The ministry sends the question to the relevant department, which provides details about the question asked by a lawmaker.

Later, the details are sent to the National Assembly Secretariat, which forwards it to the minister concerned.

The minister checks the details and after his approval the answer in writing is submitted to the National Assembly.

Lawmakers can bring a privilege motion against any minister if misleading and incorrect details are submitted to the house.

Besides, an inquiry can also be initiated against the officials of the department that provided the incorrect details.

On Jan 17, a report about crime figures in the capital was submitted to the National Assembly on behalf of the state minister.

In a statement issued on Jan 2, the police also claimed that “utmost efforts would be made to curb crime in 2019 as crime rate had significantly declined last year (2018).”

In 2018, murder cases increased in the capital by 24pc as 106 people were killed against 85 in 2017, according to the police. However, the National Assembly was told that 105 people were murdered in the city in 2017 and 85 in 2018.

The assembly was informed about a decrease in dacoities stating that 39 such incidents took place in 2107 and 28 in 2018. But the police said there was an increase of 106pc in dacoities as 33 cases were registered in 2018 and 16 in 2017.

Likewise, the house was told that robberies decreased to 403 from 427 in 2017. But the crime actually increased by 89pc as 468 such incidents took place during the year compared to 247 in 2017.

Similarly, a decline was also shown in the car and motorcycle thefts. The house was told that 129 cars and 236 motorcycles were stolen in 2018 compared to 156 and 257 in 2017, respectively. However, car-theft increased by 63pc and motorcycle theft by 139pc in 2018.

As many as 225 vehicles and 428 motorcycles were stolen against 138 and 179 in 2017, according to the police.

An increase was also witnessed in kidnapping/rape cases as 357 such incidents took place in 2018 against 256 in 2017. Two incidents of kidnapping took place compared to three in 2017.

However, the National Assembly was informed that 99 kidnapping incidents took place in 2018 and 122 in 2017.

Meanwhile, burglaries increased from 206 in 2017 to 343 in 2018.

Moreover, attempted murder cases slightly increased with 148 such incidents in 2018 and 143 in 2017. An increase was also witnessed in fatal and non-fatal accidents by 12pc and 25pc, respectively — 149 fatal and 98 non-fatal accidents compared to 133 and 78, respectively, in 2017.

A police officer on condition of anonymity told Dawn that 2018 was worst year for the capital in terms of crime.

During the year, he said, the police mostly remained engaged in security duty during elections and protests by a religious group which were some of the reasons behind the increase in crime.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2019