Northwestern province fails to put crime to bed

Official reports suggest a recent surge in incidents of theft, snatching and harassment


Ehtesham Khan May 06, 2021
K-P IGP Dr Sanaullah Abbasi during the visit to the crime site. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR:

In the last four months of the year 2021 alone, the provincial capital has experienced a 65 per cent upturn in various crimes, including street offences, robberies and incidents of child sexual abuse.

The first two weeks of January, February and March witnessed 40 major robberies, cumulatively amounting to millions of rupees looted from the local business community, citizens and traders.

Per law enforcement agencies, there have been over 183 attacks on life this year, out of which 72 were murders and 111 were cases of attempted murder registered with the local police. In addition to that, crime reports also reveal some 13 incidents of kidnapping and rape and over 48 cases of vehicle robberies reported in the city.

Despite the gravity of numbers however, Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abbas Khan maintains that criminal activity has not escalated in the past few months. According to Khan, there has however been an increase in registration of First Information Reports (FIRs), for every major and minor crime including motorcycle theft, robbery and dacoit activity. “With more cases registered and reported, there is a perception that crime in Peshawar is on the rise but the reality on ground is very different,” he told.

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As word of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P)’s deteriorating law and order situation reaches the provincial assembly however, opposition member Iftikhar Wali was moved to file an adjournment motion on Peshawar’s rising crime rate in a recent session of the K-P assembly.

In the adjournment motion Wali mentioned that robberies and lootings have become a daily occurrence in the provincial capital, while several young lives are lost violent snatching and street crime incidents. “Banks are robbed, people are continually snatched from, but the police doesn’t seem to care at all,” he asserted.

Following which, upon approval of the motion by the League Minister of Provincial Assembly (MPA), the Speaker summoned the concerned authorities for discussion in the meeting.

According to documents obtained by the Express Tribune, 47 people were killed in Peshawar from January to March last year, compared to 72 in the first three months of this year.

Similarly, only one case of child abduction was reported last year, but so far this year, four cases of child abduction for ransom have been reported. There were 19 robberies last year and 40 in the first three months of this year, with two civilians killed in Hayatabad and Gulbahar during the robbery. Similarly, last year saw some four incidents of motorcycle theft at gunpoint and 15 this year while bank robberies have also seen a sudden rise in the northwestern province.

Information obtained from federal investigative agencies and police hints towards a new bank robbery gang, which has started sinking its roots Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Members of the said gang are said to specialise in operating sophisticated weapons, looting large sums of money in a short period of time and taking staff hostage immediately. Since emergence, the gang has robbed several banks across the province, including a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan and successfully bolted with millions in their clutch and no police on their tail.

A senior K-P police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told that the rise in crime in Peshawar and other districts of the province was due to the weakened monitoring system of gangs coming out of jails, suspension of officers and lack of expert officers in the investigation department. “Last year, 92 per cent of cases were traced in the first three months but in the current situation, the rate of police detection is very low, from high profile cases to small cases,” he told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2021.

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