Incidents of people being drugged and robbed in the city have been on the rise over the past few months.
Rescue 1122 officials say such incidents have become a routine now, 156 were reported in July (until July 25). According to their statistics for past months, 175 people were drugged and robbed in June, 165 in May, 136 in April, 122 in March and 103 in February.
Usman Virk, who frequently travels between Lahore and Gujranwala, was robbed of his belongings on board a Lahore-bound bus five months ago. “When we were a few minutes from Lahore, the man sitting next to me offered me some sweets,” he said.
He said the man, who identified himself as Saleem, was so insistent that he had to take some. Virk said the next thing he remembered was the face of the bus conductor who woke him up at the Lorry Adda.
He said he later found out that he had been robbed of his cell phone and Rs4,000. “I went to the police station and narrated the robbery to the muharrar,” he said. He added that the clerk refused to register an FIR objecting how one could be able to walk to the police station after being drugged and robbed. Dr Salman Kazmi of Mayo Hospital said about two to four such cases were being reported in the emergency ward everyday. He said most of the medico-legal examinations in the hospitals related to these cases.
Besides Lorry Adda and Badami Bagh, most of the drugged-and-robbed cases recorded by the Rescue 1122 took place in Shafiqabad, Sherakot and Nawankot police precincts.
Police officials at these stations, however, expressed ignorance about the matter. All but Lorry Adda police said they had not reported a single drugged-and-robbed case in the past six months. The only such case was registered with the Lorry Adda police two months ago.
Officials told The Tribune that no headway had yet been made in the FIR lodged under Section 337J of the Pakistan Penal Code. They said police couldn’t do much if people do not report these incidents.
A Badami Bagh police official, Saifullah, admitted that such incidents were quite common in his area but said that it was difficult to stop them unless victims cooperate with the police. “Most of these swindlers operate in gangs. Probably some bus drivers and conductors are also colluding with them,” he said. Badami Bagh DSP Sheikh Muhammad Iftikhar said he had just taken charge a few days ago and was not aware of any such incidents in his area.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.