LAHORE: The Anti-Vehicle Lifting Staff, CIA Police and Punjab Safe Cities Authority seem to be helpless against a gang depriving citizens of their vehicles outside Ittefaq Hospital.
An alarming number of incidents of vehicle-lifting have been reported outside the hospital in a radius of a few hundred metres. The locality is a high-security zone as 180-H Model Town, the residence of Sharif brothers is just a few metres away. Interestingly, police regularly patrol the locality. At least 25 cases of vehicle thefts from the locality have been registered so far since January 01, 2016.
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In a recent incident on Saturday morning, a man was deprived of his car (LEF-1945). The victim, Umar Khan, told The Express Tribune that he had come to the hospital for the checkup of his father. The parking staff told him to park the vehicle on a roadside parking as the hospital’s parking was already full.
“I parked my vehicle on roadside where few traffic wardens were on duty. After half hour I returned just to find that my vehicle had gone. I asked the traffic wardens about my vehicle. They responded rudely telling me that they did not see my vehicle and it was not their duty,” he said.
In a confusion what to do next, go search for the vehicle or shift his father home first, he called at police 15. After some time, a police team reached the spot.
“When I told police about the incident and pointed towards CCTV cameras to take help and spot the suspect, the SHO, with an expressionless face, said the CCTVs were out of order and asked me to reach police station to file a written application for FIR registration,” Umar narrated his ordeal.
“Left with no other option, I reached the police station and filed the complaint. When I asked them about the registration of FIR, the staff asked me to come in the evening to Police Station for FIR registration as SHO would come at that time."
Umar Khan said he was dealing with police for the first time in his life. Finally, with the help of one of his relatives who was a senior officer in a government department, Umar was able to get an FIR registered. Umar, like many others, is still waiting for the authorities to help recover his vehicle.
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According to the local residents, the number of incidents is much higher but very few were registered. They said in most of the cases the victims of car thefts had come from other cities and were unable to follow-up their case with police.
On such an alarming number of incidents of vehicle lifting outside Ittefaq Hospital, SHO Liaquatabad Asif Atta said the case was not just about Ittefaq Hospital, almost every hospital in Lahore faced the same issue. He said police were trying to counter the incidents with the help of anti-vehicle lifting staff.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2017.
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