LAHORE: Hundreds of those hoping for a better 2017 were left with nothing but doom and gloom as a whopping 103 cases of robbery and vehicle snatching were reported from January 1 to 7 in the provincial capital. Citizens were deprived of a total of Rs20 million during these incidents.
The Saddar division was in the unenviable position of topping the list as valuables worth over Rs5,500,000 were stolen in robberies/thefts. It was followed by the Cantonment Division with a loss of valuables worth rupees 4,900,000, while locals in Model Town were robbed of 4,000,000 in 12 robberies. Meanwhile, the City Division reported losses of valuables worth rupees over 3,500,000 in 14 robbery and theft bids, followed by Iqbal Town Division where locals were robbed of 2,000,000. Four people, including a woman, were also injured when resisting these robberies in the Chung, Manawan, Shahdara Town and Civil Lines police jurisdictions.
Thirty six bikes, nine cars, five other vehicles and three bikes were snatched throughout the metropolis. A single case of murder and eight cases of attempted murder were also reported.
Law and order
As far as the law and order situation is concerned, Lahore Police managed well on New Year Even and on the death anniversary of slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. On New Year’s Eve, secret agencies warned of terror attacks, but the night passed by without incident. Locals gave much credit of the tight security arrangements to Lahore police as incidents of vandalism or manhandling of people are possible on such days.
Senior police officers and their subordinates patrolled all major roads of the city in a bid to control the situation.
On the occasion of Salman Taseer’s death anniversary, civil society and political activists planned a candlelight vigil at Liberty Chowk. Reports by the Special Branch and secret agencies warned of a serious law and order situation on the occasion. In 2015, activists holding a similar demonstration were attacked by miscreants with weapons. The assailants injured participants, tore posters and closed down the demonstration.
Lahore Police, as part of their strategy, gave safe passage to the organisers of the rally to hold it on Mall Road, but warned them against holding it at Liberty Chowk. At the same time, the police was embroiled in daylong scuffles with those opposed to the vigil. As many as 100 people were arrested on the occasion.
The appointment of a DIG rank officer in place of an SSP as chief traffic officer (CTO) brought little change to the congestion in the city.
Locals have complained of bumper to bumper traffic during peak hours in the morning, noon and evening on all major roads of the city.
The tussle over control between the Rescue 1122 and Emergency Services Academy directors is badly affecting work on the ground, sources said. Instead of improving performance and broadening service and horizons, the two were allegedly involved in departmental politics.
Questionable transfers and postings had been made, while the cold war between the two finally erupted when Rescue 1122 headquarters were forcibly shifted to the academy.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.