KARACHI: A report submitted by the Sindh Police to the Sindh High Court has revealed that there are over 50,000 absconding suspects, including 8,391 accused in terrorism cases, at large in the province. The report raises several questions on the performance of the law enforcement agencies who claim to have brought peace not just to the city, but the province at large.
The list of absconders was compiled on the orders of SHC Justice Salahuddin Panhwar in response to a petition filed by Musamat Nooran Bibi.
In her petition, Bibi had told the court that her son had been killed near Alfalah in Karachi around two years ago. Subsequently, the court had released four accused on bail, while two others had never been arrested and had been declared absconders.
On Friday, the petitioner's lawyer, Zulfiqar Ali Jalbani, told the court that one of the absconders, Meral Khushk was living in Khanpur, while the second absconder, Ghulam Razzak Khushk was living in Kandiaro.
Illegal land: Court issues warrants for absconders
Jalbani said that two years had passed since the murder but the absconders were roaming freely, while the police were making no efforts for their arrest. He pleaded the court to order the police to arrest the absconders and produce them in the court. Justice Panhwar ordered the police to apprehend the absconders within 15 days.
During the hearing of the case on March 7, 2019, the court had also ordered the police department to furnish details of all the accused, who were currently on the run from the law.
On Friday, the West Zone Investigation-II SP submitted the report to the court, which reveals that over half of the absconders are those whose cases are registered in Karachi. Their number stands at 28,009 accused, 1,347 of whom are being tried in anti-terrorism courts.
The report also breaks down the number of absconders in the city's police range. These include 2,756 in City, 2,294 in South, 3,819 in Korangi, 6,004 in Malir, 2,456 in East, 3,617 in West, 1,140 in Central. The remaining are those whose cases are registered with specialised units such as the Anti-Violent Crime Cell and the Anti-Car Lifting Cell.
Besides, the report states, that as many as 28,009 accused are on the run in the rest of the province. These include 13,155 accused are on the run in Larkana division, 6,301 in Hyderabad division, 3,841 in Sukkur division, 742 in Mirpurkhas and 3,970 in Shaheed Benazirabad.
Course of action
According to the report submitted to the court, the Sindh Police Legal AIG will reach out to the Federal Investigation Agency and request to place the names of the absconders on the Exit Control List.
The Legal AIG has also been intimated to contact the National Database and Registration Authority to block their Computerised National Identity Cards. The latter move would render the CNICs of the absconding suspects useless and would flag it on the system if they were to attempt to use it. Both these steps are also being taken on the court's orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2019.