KARACHI: “I lost everything. On July 30, three degenerates stopped me and took away every single thing close to my heart,” Ramish Siddiqui (pseudo name) said this while explaining the traumatic experience of becoming a victim of street crimes for the first time.

The 24-year-old lost his bike which he bought after years of hard work, two mobile phones and Rs10,000 while he was on his way to home after withdrawing cash from an ATM machine in the vicinity of Sharah-i-Noor Jehan police station.

“I visited the police station for the first time in my life. Is it going to bring out something positive? I don’t think so. You can’t even get an FIR registered without any source,” he said while speaking to Dawn.

However, he vowed: “The system is designed to discourage us, but I will do whatever it takes.”

No fewer than 64 Karachiites killed for resisting robbery bids; 18,805 mobile phones, 1,808 motorbikes and 68 cars snatched over the last seven months

Ramish was not the only one who lost his personal belongings to the menace of street crime, but thousands of Karachiites have become victims of it this year, already.

Even official figures are startling

According to the data shared by the Sindh police, 1,808 motorcycles; 68 four-wheelers, and as per Citizen-Police Liaison Committee, 18,805 mobile phones have been snatched in the first seven months of the ongoing year.

The police data further mentioned that 655 cars and 5,877 motorcycle thefts were reported in the said period.

The data added that 64 unfortunate citizens also lost their lives when they resisted robbery bids.

However, it has to be taken into consideration that the number only shows cases which were registered, but there are also cases where the people were deprived of their belongings, but they did not step forward to register the case or either were denied the right to register their FIR.

Victims expect no police favour

Among them is Murad Naim, a van driver who provides pick-and-drop services to working women. He was deprived of his mobile phone at gunpoint when he was picking up one of his clients. He was not the only one, but four clients who were sitting in the van also lost their phones.

“There were two men. One of them pointed a gun to my chest while the other entered the vehicle to snatch mobile phones from the girls,” he told Dawn.

“None of us went to register the FIR of the incident as it was of no use. First of all, they don’t register the FIR, and it also becomes a troubling experience. Other than that, the phones were also not going to be recovered and restored to us anyway. So, what’s the point of all the hassle?”

Another young man, who wished not to be named, told Dawn about the “troublesome” experience he went through to get his FIR registered, and still failed to do so.

“My phones, bike, laptop and cash were snatched on the Nipa Chowrangi flyover in June. My total loss was worth around Rs700,000 at least, and I earned all of it on my own, from my bike to my phone.

“But, one night when I was coming back from my workplace, four criminals riding two bikes intercepted me and took away everything I had,” he said, adding: “When I went to the police station, I was told by a man in civil dress, who was sitting in the room and introduced himself as an officer, that I need to give Rs2,000 if I want to get the FIR registered.”

Yahya Khan, who lost his mobile phone and wallet while he was on his way home after doing his late-night duty that he had started just two days ago to bear his education expenses, also believed that the police department was good for nothing.

“It was just the second day of my job, and it left me in a trauma that I left the job right away. I went to a police station, but I was told that the snatching happened in the vicinity of some other police station, so I should go there.

“And when I went there, I was told that it was in the vicinity of another police station. It felt like they were on purpose discouraging me to not register the FIR,” he said, adding: “We have no trust in the police.”

Why police resist FIR registration

A senior police official who wished not to be named, while talking to Dawn, admitted that the department purposefully avoided registration of FIRs.

“Crime burking is one of the biggest reasons why the police do not lodge FIRs. They avoid documenting the crime that will make them accountable,” he said, adding: “The second reason is that policemen do not want to provide service without any favour or gratification.”

While victims believe that there is no point in registering FIR as their belongings could not be recovered, there does exist very little chance of recovery of their mobile phones or vehicles.

The CPLC data shows that of 723 cars that were snatched or stolen, 350 were recovered; of 7,685 snatched or stolen motorcycles, 1,461 were recovered; and of 18,805 mobile phones, 318 were recovered.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2023

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...