QUETTA: Taking notice of a mega heist during which 83 shops were robbed in one fell swoop in Pashtoonabad, Quetta on Sunday night, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan issued orders for suspension of two station house officers (SHO) as the shops fell under their jurisdictions.
Following the orders, Quetta's senior superintendent of police suspended Sub-Inspector Ahmed Ali of Khaliq Shaheed police station and Inspector Fateh Sher of Pashtoonabad police station over negligence in performing their duty.
Expressing great concern over the incidents of robberies and targeted killings in Quetta, CM Kamal has called a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation in the city on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the CM Secretariat on Tuesday.
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Provincial interior minister, interior ministry secretary, inspector general of police (IGP), Quetta deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, Quetta commissioner and officials of security forces will be in attendance.
It is expected that major decisions on the performance of the security agencies will be taken during the meeting.
“The police force is responsible for the protection of the properties and lives of citizens … we won’t tolerate any negligence regarding security,” the statement quoted CM Kamal as saying.
The chief minister directed the IGP to ensure safety of citizens and sought a report of the incident from the Quetta DIG, it added.
Talking to the media, Quetta DIG Abdul Razzaq Cheema said, “The robbers tortured the watchman and looted dozens of shops. We have issued show-cause notices to SHOs of Pashtoonabad and Khaliq Shaheed police stations. After initial inquiry, we will launch departmental action against the officers showing negligence.
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“We have received complaints from only 22 shop owners and asked them to bring the rest of the shopkeepers to register complaints within 24 hours so we can start investigation,” said Cheema, adding that it appeared as if the traders’ community were exaggerating the number of shops.
In a statement, provincial Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Zia Langove directed the police officials to arrest the dacoits involved in the mega robbery.
“Such a daring robbery raises questions over the performance of the police department,” said the statement, quoting the minister as saying.
At least 83 shops in Quetta’s Pashtoonabad area were daringly robbed in one go with shop owners claiming goods worth of millions of rupees were looted from under the nose of the police.
A group of dacoits robbed 83 shops located in the two-kilometre area of Quetta’s Pashtoonabad during early hours of Monday and escaped without any chase by the two police stations of the area.
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The dacoits broke the locks of the shutters and made away with goods worth millions of rupees. The stolen items included cell phones, hard drives, computers and medicine.
“We have never heard of such an incident where robbers so easily robbed 83 shops in one go without any resistance by the police,” said Balochistan Traders Association President Abdul Raheem Kakar, urging the provincial government to hunt down the perpetrators.
Muhammad Asif, a mobile shop owner, said, “The dacoits robbed the shops openly by cutting the locks of the shutters, opening the shops and walking away with the loot. A question is still lingering in my mind that how can a group of dacoits rob dozens of shops and are not challenged by the police.”
The shop owners of the area staged a protest in Pashtoonabad, chanting slogans against the police and the provincial government. They set fire to used tyres and blocked traffic in order to register their protest.
The local traders’ community warned of protests and strikes across the province if the police fails in arresting the dacoits.