Shahbaz Taseer and US citizen Warren Weinstein are both alive and “in safe hands”, but they have not been rescued from their abductors, Capital City Police Officer Ahmed Raza Tahir said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the CCPO denied a newspaper report stating that the two high profile hostages had been rescued. He said that if the two were to be recovered, the electronic media would be the first to know.
He said that the police had made headway in the abduction cases, but had been stopped from proceeding further with their investigation by an agency. He refused to name the agency. He said both hostages were alive and “in safe hands”.
The city’s police chief said that the crime rate was rising and the police did not have sufficient numbers to control it. He said that the police department needed another 28,000 personnel, as the city’s population had grown exponentially in recent years. He said that of the current force of some 27,000, only six thousand personnel were in the operations wing and 3,000 in the investigation wing, which was insufficient.
He conceded that policemen treated citizens poorly. He said that he was from Sahiwal and if he were to go to a police station in the city anonymously, he would probably be embarrassed by their behaviour.
However, he said, it was time to change the perception. He said he had directed all officials to bring about a change in ‘thana culture’ and to treat all citizens with respect. He said the police also needed to be recognised for their sacrifices to protect people.
The CCPO sought to reassure businesses, saying that protecting the markets of the city was a top priority. He urged businesses, citizens and the media to cooperate with the police. Representatives of the LCCI pledged that traders and businesses would cooperate with the police. They also presented a commemorative shield to the CCPO. DIG (Operations) Ghulam Mehmood Dogar and Chief Traffic Officer Capt (retired) Ahmed Mobin accompanied the CCPO.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2011.