Karachi knife attacks: Dysfunctional CCTV cameras blamed for inaction

Published: October 18, 2017
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 PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights was informed on Tuesday that the police were unable to find any evidence of Mohammad Wasim, the man arrested from Sialkot for his alleged involvement in stabbing of women in Karachi.

“Since we don’t have concrete evidence, Mohammad Wasim, the prime suspect arrested from Mandi Bahauddin, may be released,” said DIG East Sultan Khawaja while briefing the Senate committee about missing persons and knife attack incidents on women in Karachi.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Nasreen Jalil and attended, besides the DIG East, by Karachi police chief Mushtaque Mahar, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Nisar Mohammad Khan, Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Parvez, DG Rangers Mohammad Saeed and IG Sindh AD Khawaja.

Karachi’s serial ‘knife attacker’ arrested in Mandi Bahuddin: police

“Police have also got the phone call record of Mohammad Wasim who has used around 16 different SIMs for communication,” said DIG Khawaja, adding, “All SIMs are issued on his relatives’ names and he has never called in Karachi, nor has he ever visited the city during the time of 13 knife attacks.”

The police official expressed dismay over the surveillance system in Karachi and said, “We have traced the record of the CCTV camera installed in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and other areas, but the result is very poor. “Through these cameras, no one can even trace the number plates,” he said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar of the PPP diverted the meeting’s attention toward Sahiwal, Rawalpindi and other areas of Punjab where women were stabbed. “There is a dire need to probe if [the same] gang is involved in it,” he said, questioning why 16 SIMs were being used by a man. “One should ask the mobile companies about it,” he said.

Mushtaque Mahar, the Karachi police chief, was of the view that the police had arrested 38 other suspects and collected record from three psychiatric hospitals in Karachi.

“We have checked the data of 200 cell phones and traced 15,000 phones calls,” he said, adding, “The suspects have reportedly used red-coloured bikes during attacks on women and the police have acquired data of bikes from the Excise and Taxation Department.”

“More than 1,500 bikes of the said colour are registered in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and the police are closely working on the case,” he said.

SHC issues notices on police’s failure to trace suspect

The police chief said the provincial government had decided to install 10,000 CCTV cameras on various locations of Karachi in this connection for which the services of Dubai and London-based consultants had been acquired.

Missing persons

The committee members, while raising the missing persons’ case, observed that the forum seemed toothless to resolve the issue.

According to official sources, the committee members – who had last year sought reports from the police and intelligence agencies about the missing persons – expressed displeasure over no progress in the context.

“Instead of the recovery of the missing persons or exposing of the element behind it, more people have gone missing from Sindh,” said Senator Babar.

Nasreen Jalil, referring to a list the committee had handed over to law-enforcers, said, “What is the update on the missing persons?” She added, “With disappearance of more people, the elements involved in it have given a message to the Senate committee that they are more powerful.”

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