Almost 3,000 cell phones get snatched or stolen every month in Karachi, say latest statistics published by the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).
According to figures from August 2009 to July 2010, handset theft in Karachi takes up 43.7 per cent of all theft in Pakistan, with most incidents occurring in the city’s east zone, comprising areas such as Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Korangi, followed by the south zone, which includes areas such as Defence, Clifton and Saddar. Nineteen-year-old Hatim Lotia was mugged at the mobile phone market itself.
“I was outside the mobile market in Saddar where I had come to drop off a friend’s phone to get fixed. They not only took my Blackberry bold, but also the Blackberry curve which I had to get fixed. Funny thing is, a few days later, my phone was returned to my father’s office.”
The reported numbers show that in the period August 2009 to July 2010 (one year), 9,018 handsets were snatched or stolen in Karachi East, with 8,053 in the South, 6,495 in Central, 6,302 in Malir and 3,724 in the West zone.
Forty-year-old Tanveer Hasan was with her family when she was mugged. “Two motorcycles surrounded our car on the Super Highway and all four men were armed,” she said. “They took my Motorola Razor and gold jewellery from my sister.”
Area-wise, the highest number of incidents have occurred in Saddar (4,445) followed by Gulshan-e-Iqbal (4,428). Jamshed Town, Clifton and Korangi follow.
The street crime is usually at gunpoint. “My blackberry bold and brother’s Nokia was stolen right outside our house in Clifton, Block 7,” said 24-year-old Nayel Noorani. “I think he was a police officer because I saw a police belt when he lifted his shirt to take out a gun.”
In terms of brand, it was noted that Nokia with 77.7 per cent had the highest share in the cell phones that were stolen.
It is worth mentioning here that these numbers are based on reported cases and the actual estimate is likely to be much higher. According to latest Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), currently Pakistan has a cell phone subscription base of more than 100 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2010.