LAHORE: The provincial capital’s investigation police seem to be at their lowest ebb in discharging their core function of arresting criminals and having them penalised through courts.

A case lodged at the Shahdara police station by elderly Zahoor Ahmad is a classic example of police’s ‘apathy’. Instead of lending him support, the Gujjarpura police have lodged a case against Ahmad for kidnapping the “suspects who had robbed him of valuables in the Shahdara police jurisdiction last year”.

Police have allegedly victimised the complainant for pursuing the case against the suspects who are not only notorious in the police record but also highly influential. The man and his family have decided to give up.

Zahoor Ahmad had lodged a case against a gang who robbed him of Rs300,000 when he was coming out of a bank at Begumkot on May 7 last year. His FIR was lodged after 30 days of the incident.

“Since then, I have been facing an ordeal as I have to frequently visit the police station and offices of the senior police officers to have the suspects traced and arrested,” Ahmad told Dawn. He lamented that he had to face the pathetic behaviour of the police officers who made him sit for hours outside their offices.

“Even after a lapse of one year, no one is helping solve my case,” he said, adding that he had to spend enormous expenses and too much time.

The elderly man said his young son -- an employee at a private office -- accompanied him most of the time. In September, he said his son got fed up with the matter, took a month-long leave and resolved to personally trace the criminals.

“My son visited various branches of the Lahore police, bribed the staff and finally succeeded in getting useful clues and records of various gangs of criminals operating in Shahdara area,” Ahmad said. He also visited the Safe Cities Authority and the Crime Record Office (CRO) branch of the Lahore police and obtained the photographs of the suspects wanted in his case.

It transpired that nine FIRs had already been lodged against them with various police stations of the city. In some cases, few members of the gang were on bail. Ahmad said he promptly recognised all those who had robbed him of cash outside the bank in Shahdara.

“The crime record showed all the suspects were residents of Singhpura, Lahore, and they used to move in groups to rob the citizens,” he said. He said as his son went to the police higher-ups with solid evidence, they again turned a deaf ear.

“However, my son made a last-ditch effort and met a senior police officer of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) through an influential man and briefed him on the entire situation,” he said. The police officer deputed an inspector of the CIA police to trace and arrest the suspects. He said a constable managed to arrest one of the suspects who confessed to his crime during interrogation. The CIA police recovered from the suspect Rs100,000 out of the Rs300,000 the gang made off with, he claimed.

“Meanwhile, another shocking development took place when the Gujjarpura police lodged a case of kidnap of the suspects against me,” Ahmad said. He suspected the involvement of the CIA police inspector in lodging the fake kidnap case. A few days later, he said, the CIA police officer handed over the suspect to the Shahdara investigation police while refusing to make arrest of other members of the gang.

The official crime statistics of the Lahore police investigation wing support the elderly man’s claim. The record shows low conviction rate in heinous crimes reported in the city during the first nine months of this year. According to the report, 10,882 robbery cases were registered with the 82 police stations of the city during the aforementioned period. Of them, the investigations of 1,559 cases are still untraced, 338 incomplete and 4,445 are under investigation.

Similarly, out of the 66 dacoity cases, 26 are under investigation, seven untraced and 17 cases are incomplete.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

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