RAWALPINDI: Traffic on Patan Road on the border of Punjab and Azad Kashmir was suspended for more than four hours as victims of a highway robbery held a protest by blocking the road.

An employee and scores of labourers working with a Chinese company on a project in the area were among those who were robbed by a gang of robbers.

The traffic on the road was suspended at about 6am and restored after police arrived several hours after the incident. The robbery victims staged a sit-in on the road demanding arrest of the robbers and recovery of their money and valuables.

A show-cause notice was issued to the station house officer (SHO) and an explanation was sought from the subdivisional police officer (SDPO) of the area. City Police Officer Mohammad Faisal Rana gave them a 24 hours deadline to arrest the culprits.

Syed Asif Hussain Shah, a dumper driver associated with a construction company, told the police that as he was crossing a bridge he found the road blocked and some people standing along the roadside.

He said as he stopped, armed men snatched Rs40,000, two mobile phones, driving licence and company’s card from him and escaped.

Police said after the robbery victims blocked the road, senior police official reached the scene after a lapse of several hours.

The CPO also directed SP Saddar to arrest the culprits within the next 24 hours.

As the incident occurred on the Punjab-Azad Kashmir border, record of people who commit such crimes should be obtained from the nearby districts of Azad Kashmir to identify the culprits.

The CPO said: “Blocking of a road after an incident is considered as negligence of the police. It will be analysed during a meeting with SPs why the police did not reach the crime scene timely and if they had reached there why the road was blocked.”

The CPO said departmental action would be taken against the police officers responsible for the situation.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2019