ISLAMABAD: Over 3,000 registered criminals are roaming the streets of Karachi, despite 734 police encounters in the city between January and October this year, the Sindh home department has told Islamabad in a secret report.
In the report, which has been compiled by the Sindh police, the federal government has been informed that, on average, 35,000 crimes of various nature are annually reported to the police by the citizens of Karachi.
Top officials of the Karachi police, have said that during the first ten months of this year, 337 people were gunned down in targeted killings of which 108 were shot down in August. They have also admitted that despite proactive policing and elimination of several criminal gangs in the city during the year, they were unsuccessful in curtailing the number of murders in Karachi.
According to a copy of the report available with The Express Tribune, 72 criminals were killed in these shootouts while 33 policemen lost their lives.
The report gives complete data about Karachi, its inhabitants and the fragile law and order situation in this teeming metropolis of 18 million people, including 1.8 million aliens. There are 103 police stations and 33,000 policemen, 2,815 schools, 233 colleges and 40 universities. The current number of vehicles in Karachi, according to the report, is 1.8 million. There are 3,480 mosques, 314 imambargahs, 1,492 madrassahs, 251 shrines, 233 temples and 85 churches, the report said.
Analysing police performance, the report said that although they could not arrest the trend of murders in the city, there was a decrease of 25 per cent in street crime, 20 per cent in vehicle theft and 33 per cent in cell phone snatching. They also claimed significant progress in the recovery of illicit arms and ammunition and arrests of proclaimed offenders and absconders.
The condition of Karachi, virtually under the siege at the hands of the criminal elements, can be gauged from the section of the report dealing with the recovery of arms and ammunition from these criminals. In 2010 alone, the police recovered two light machine guns, 80 sub machine guns, 84 rifles, 132 repeaters, nine shot guns, 4,042 pistols, 265 revolvers, eight rocket-propelled grenades, 59 hand grenades, 200 kilogrammes of explosives and one suicide vest. The pistol appears to be the criminals’ most favoured weapon, according to the data.
The report shares statistics of targeted killings in the city, month and zone wise. According to the data, the number of people falling victim to target killings was 17 in January, four in February, 14 in March, 35 in May, 25 in June, 35 in July, 108 in August, 17 in September and 79 in October. The report cites the following reasons for spikes in the killings in particular months: anti-encroachment drive in May, assassination of a political worker in July, assassination of Member Provincial Assembly Raza Haider in August and the Orangi by-elections in October.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2010.