Be alert at the Jinnah International Airport!
A man insisted on picking up my bag and putting in the car- I had to literally yell at him to stay away from my stuff!
For quite some time now, we have been hearing of people getting mugged and deprived of their suitcases after exiting the Jinnah International Airport. This is especially true for the passengers of long haul flights. Usually the victims arrive by midnight or early morning, when it’s convenient for the criminals to strike without being spotted.
Recently, when I travelled to Karachi from the US, I noticed that a group of shady looking men were offering help in handling baggage near the pickup area and one of them even picked one of my bags and proceeded to put in my car without my consent.
I had to literally shout at him to keep him away. I also noticed that after the car of one family that did allow them to handle their baggage left, the guy immediately called someone on his cell phone and gave some specific details which I overheard. These were exactly related to the car that just left - the model, the number plate, the colour and so on.
He then moved to his second target.
I’m pretty sure these very men, trying desperately to help us, pass on the information regarding the number of bags, registration and model number of the car to their partners in crime waiting somewhere outside the airport and hence successfully carry out the mugging.
These men work as informants to criminals and their modus operandi is very simple; approach any arriving traveller, offer them some help with their bags and pass on the information to criminals roaming around the airport area who then chase and rob the passengers either on main Sharah-e-Faisal or at their door step.
The following tips, however, can ensure that the trip you make back home is safe and secure:
• For flights arriving late at night or early in the morning, prefer waiting till the sun rises and then leave the airport. These criminals usually take advantage of the dark.
• If it is really important to leave the airport premises at midnight or dusk, then ask a few friends or relatives to bring their cars and move in a motorcade. This reduces the risk of getting cornered.
• Keep a check on any suspicious vehicles that might be following you. If you feel you are being followed, get inside any gated housing community or hotel for a while.
• Upon arriving at your door step, avoid exchanging pleasantries outside the house as that is the most vulnerable point and these bandits take advantage of the slightest loophole they can get.
• Don’t let any unknown/unauthorised person handle your bags at the pickup area of the airport.
Unfortunately in the city of Karachi we face such crimes on a daily basis. What is even more depressing is that our government is inefficient and stands by, just grinning, through all of this. We need to come together as a community to help each other - thus, I have sent in my suggestions. What are yours?
Read more by Arsalan here.