Criminals at large

Shiraz Hasnat June 11, 2010

LAHORE: Reeling from the impact of the most devastating spate of terrorism the province has ever seen, the Lahore police have decided to crack down on proclaimed offenders and absconders. But from the looks of the recently compiled data, they’re going to have their hands full for a while: there are a staggering 38,127 most wanted criminals who’re roaming free in the city.

Of these, 16,141 are court absconders. There are those who ran away from court after the cancellation of their bails or were declared absconders by the courts after failing to answer court summons in any case.

The remaining 21,986 are those criminals who have not been arrested despite having been accused in different cases. Police sources say a large number of these criminals were involved in cases of terrorism, murder, dacoity, kidnappings  for ransom and other heinous crimes. Top of the list is one of the prime accused in the Liberty attack, Samiullah from Nankana Sahib district, who is also wanted in connection with target killings of police officers. But others are the ‘petty criminals’ – those wanted for burglary, theft, gambling and swindling. And strangely enough, there seems to be no clear strategy to prioritise arrests.

“There are multiple reasons for this ‘failure’,” explains one official. “Most of the criminals are backed by policemen themselves while a large number have camouflaged themselves after having acquired new identities for themselves.” As a result, he says, the criminals stay below the radar of the law enforcement agencies.

Lahore is divided into six administrative divisions. And the number of proclaimed offenders posted by each division says a lot about their efficiency. City division, for example, leads with 8,352 most wanted criminals on their books. Next is Model Town with 6,295 proclaimed offenders followed by Cantt with 5,948; Civil lines (5,703); Saddar division (4,948) and Iqbal town trailing behind with 3,526 POs.

Equally disturbing is the nexus between these criminals and the crime rate stats for the city. In a recent white paper accusing the PML-N government of mismanagement in Punjab, PML-Q politician Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi claimed that Lahoris were robbed of cash and valuables worth Rs 180 million during the month of May alone. Elahi also said larger cities like Lahore witness between 40 and 50 heinous crimes a day and that that poor prosecution leads to the unjustified acquittal of many criminals from the courts.

The city’s new CCPO Aslam Khan Tareen admits that conducting this crackdown is a huge challenge but says he has a plan. “I will base performance reviews on the number of arrests made by each officer and those who support criminals and back them will be thrown out from the police,” he promises. But in a city racked by increasing violence, no one’s holding their breath.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 11th, 2010.


shiraz hasnat | 11 years ago | Reply dear Saad thnx for commenting on that article. Ch pervaiz Elahi has issued a white fact paper against the present PML-N govt. n i have asked this question regarding the source of this data and he replied that from different news paper they got it and then compiled it. regarding the Punjab bank scam i am not defending them as they are answerable to this acts but at every form they denied having any involvement in it a the case is in court lets c wat the court will decide on it. regards shiraz hasnat
Zulfiqar Haider | 11 years ago | Reply These figures are alarming and represent the criminal record of just one city; it is a known fact that the petty criminals if left to roam around have the tendency to turn into hardcore criminals and terrorists.
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