KARACHI: In yet another incident of vehicle snatching, armed robbers took away a government-registered car at gunpoint from Defence Housing Authority (DHA) on Monday morning. This was the 12th incident of its kind in the current year, whereby a government vehicle has been stolen from DHA or Clifton area.
According to police, the latest incident involved a 2016-model white Toyota Corolla, bearing registration number GSC 877, and was attached to the services and general administration department of the provincial government. At the time of the robbery, the vehicle was being driven by Arbab Ali, the brother of a former adviser to the chief minister, Yusuf Mastoi. The incident took place in DHA Phase IV, Commercial Lane 2.
According to Darakshan Police Station SHO Shah Jehan Lashari, at least three armed persons were involved in the robbery. The SHO, while quoting Ali, said that one of the suspects was wearing a police uniform while the other two were in plainclothes. He added that the police have collected CCTV footage of the incident and have begun investigating the incident.
The investigations, however, haven’t really produced results with only three of the 12 cars, stolen or snatched this year from DHA, having been recovered.
According to police records, a Toyota Corolla bearing registration plates GSC 238 was snatched at gunpoint from the jurisdiction of Darakshan Police in January, while another Toyota Corolla bearing registration plates GSE 706 was snatched from the same jurisdiction on February 7. Yet another car, a Suzuki Cultus bearing registration number GPA 428, was snatched from the same area on March 20, while on July 8, a Toyota Corolla, bearing registration number GSE 877, was snatched at gunpoint.
From the limits of Gizri Police Station, a Toyota Corolla, bearing registration plates GSE 062, was snatched at gunpoint on February 10. Three days later, another Toyota Corolla, GS 653, was snatched from the same area. Then on July 1, a Suzuki Potohar, GS 4939, was stolen from the area.
On January 15, a Suzuki Potohar, bearing registration number GH 809, was stolen from the limits of Jackson Police Station. Another Toyota Corolla, GSB 946, was stolen from the same area on April 24.
On May 2, a Toyota Corolla, GSC 859, was snatched at gunpoint within the remits of Clifton Police Station. In the same area, a Suzuki Potohar, GS 3251, was stolen on May 19. Only three of the above-mentioned cars have been recovered to date.
An uphill task
When The Express Tribune reached out to South DIG Sharjeel Kharal for comment, the official said that the Anti-Vehicle Crime Unit, formerly known as the Anti-Car Lifting Cell, primarily deals with vehicle theft. The district police regularly meet the AVCU’s officials to discuss the strategy for curbing vehicle theft.
According to the DIG, youth from Upper Sindh and Balochistan are involved in the incidents. He added that efforts were being made to control the situation, while the SSP has also been changed over the matter.
The new SSP has adopted a strategy under which the district police and AVCU officials carried out snap checking during the month of Ramadan due to which such incidents have decreased.
According to police statistics, a total of 54 cars have been stolen or snatched in the current year in the South zone alone, of which only four have been recovered. Similarly, another 544 motorcycles were stolen from South Zone, out of which only 65 motorcycles were recovered.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2019.