About 40 kidnapping cases are reported in Punjab daily on average but over half of them are not pursued due to various reasons.
Official data shows that 12,230 kdnapping cases were registered in the province during the first 10 months of the current year.
The data further showed that every fourth registered case in Punjab from the category of crime against persons is of kidnapping or abduction.
The criminal offences are largely dealt as crime against persons and property. Crimes against property include robbery, dacoity, theft, motorbike lifting, and car snatching, while crimes against persons include cases like murder, attack, sexual assault and kidnapping.
About 26% of the registered cases in the category of crime against person are of kidnapping and abduction as a total of 46,441 cases of crimes against persons were registered during the period.
However, there was a trend of registration of false cases. Out of the total registered cases of kidnapping and abduction, at least 55%, or 6,714 out of total 12,230 cases were cancelled for various reasons.
A senior police officer told The Express Tribune that for the past few years Punjab Police had been under immense pressure in cases of violence against children. He cited the backlash the police faced over the Kasur child pornography case, Zainab murder case and Chunian serial killing case.
The police had been following cases of violence against children on a priority basis because of an unusual surge in reporting of missing children in the provincial capital in 2016.
The officer said the issue had aggravated because of fake news also. Rumours of a kidnapping gang involved in organs’ transplantation were rife on the social media. News and pictures of bodies with missing organs found in Lahore proved fake after investigation.
News of kidnapping of children in the province also led to paranoia and in several cases the father or mother escorting a child was beaten up by citizens who suspected them of being kidnappers.
There were also an increased number of cases where children left their homes after being admonished by their patents and teachers.
The officer said the police recorded every complaint of a missing child immediately as a kidnapping case. The cases regarding children upset with their families leaving their homes were cancelled after they returned home.
He added that in cases of court marriage when a girl eloped, her parents would press the police to register an abduction case.
Later, the case was cancelled when the girl recorded a statement before a court that she had left her home herself.
Citing examples, the officer said the kidnapping case of 17-year-old Muhammad Umar was registered in Akbari Gate police station. Last week, boy returned home and said he had left because he was annoyed with his parents and started doing a job at a hotel in Jhang.
A 12-year-old girl who had gone missing in Nawan Kot while going to a market was recovered a few days back..
Last month, a 17-year-old girl eft her home with one Ali Raza in North Cantonment area. However, a case of kidnapping was registered. Later, she returned home.
On the other hand, Punjab Police claimed that of the registered cases only 46 were untraced and 2,901 were under investigations.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2020.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ