• Meeting decides those involved in sale, purchase of snatched/stolen goods will be taken to task
• Plan finalised to wipe out dacoit gangs from riverine area

KARACHI: The Provincial Apex Committee on Monday approved strict action against the sale of stolen or snatched mobiles phones and vehicles and their spare parts in the city markets as part of the measures being taken to curb the growing incidents of street crime.

The 31st meeting of the Apex Committee — a forum of civil and military officials — held at the CM House with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in chair. It was attended among others by Corps Commander Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, Home Minister Zia Lanjar, Mayor Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah, Ranger Director General Maj Gen Azhar Waqas, Home Secretary Iqbal Memon, Inspector General of Police Ghulam Nabi Memon, Advocate General Hassan Akbar, Commissioner Hassan Naqvi, Additional IG Karachi Imran Yaqoob and Chief Customs Collector Mohammad Yakoob Mako.

According to a statement, the meeting decided to take measures to monitor the sale of stolen or snatched mobile phones and vehicles as spare parts or in their complete form in the markets of the city.

According to the home minister and provincial police chief, comparative figures for the first three months of 2023 and 2024 indicated a decrease in the number of theft cases reported. In 2024, 15,345 two-wheelers were stolen which is 953 cases less than the 16,298 incidents reported in 2023.

Similarly, they said, the theft of four-wheelers decreased by 145 cases with 520 vehicles stolen in 2024 as compared to 665 in 2023. The number of mobile phones snatched also showed a decline, with 6,813 cases reported in 2024 as compared to 8,688 in 2023, indicating a decrease of 1,875 cases.

According to the statistics, there has been a significant increase in the snatching of four-wheelers and two-wheelers. In 2023, 60 two-wheelers were snatched, and this number increased to 80 in 2024. Similarly, 1,805 two-wheelers were snatched in 2023 while the number of cases rose to 3,094 in 2024.

However, the overall figures of street crime have shown a decrease of 1,613 cases. In 2023, 27,680 cases of street crime were registered while the number decreased to 26,067 in 2024.

The meeting was informed that the police conducted 467 encounters in 2024. In these encounters, 67 criminals were killed, 489 injured and 1,766 were arrested. The weapons recovered from the criminals included one SMG, 2,111 pistols, 30 rifles, seven shotguns and 18 grenades.

The CM instructed the IGP to reactivate the Shaheen Force with a dedicated motorcycle squad of 386 motorcycles. “The squad should patrol the identified hotspots during peak hours, and each SSP should issue and implement a patrolling plan,” he further ordered.

Additionally, the police department was directed to revamp Madadgar-15.

The home minister announced that additional 168 vehicles, including 120 motorbikes, would be deployed to enhance the police force’s capabilities.

Police pickets to be set up in riverine area

The committee also decided to establish police pickets to strengthen security along the left bank of the River Indus and contain the dacoits within the katcha area.

The home minister informed the meeting that as many as 107 police pickets had been constructed along the left bank since July 22, where 759 police personnel were currently deployed. The meeting noted that 118 people were kidnapped from January to April 19, 2024, of whom 96 were recovered, and 22 remained missing.

The minister also informed the meeting that there were only about 90 dacoits, and the others were their tribesmen. He added that he had spared 3,000 policemen and deployed 1,000 each in Ghotki, Kashmore and Shikarpur.

He also mentioned that he had discussed the matter with the RPO of Bahawalpur and DIG Rajanpur for the establishment of police pickets on the side of Punjab.

The CM directed the chief secretary to get the work on the Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge sped up.

The DG Rangers told the CM that he had also deployed personnel for the security of the workers engaged in the construction work of the bridge.

The CM warned that the recovery of ransom from the families of the kidnapped individuals would be considered terror financing, and the people involved in facilitating the collection of the ransom amount would be identified through intelligence work to crush them.

Published in Dawn, April 23nd, 2024

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