As the number of police personnel active on field duty in Multan remains that same as a decade ago, the city is facing an increase in street crimes.
The city's population has grown significantly and the incidence of street crimes, robberies and highway holdups had multiplied due to shortage of security personnel and a poor strategy on part of the authorities concerned.
Dozens of incidents of crimes every day have become common, in which citizens are deprived of millions of rupees worth of jewellery, household goods, cattle, motorcycles, mobile phones and other valuables.
Local traders have protested over the law and order situation several times but they were only offered promises and consolation.
Some citizens allege that while poor planning by police is a major reason for the rise in crimes, some officials may be involved in patronizing criminals.
Ahead of the Eidul Fitr holidays, the city saw a rise in street crimes, including thefts and robberies. In the past 15 days, a total of 321 robberies and thefts have been reported across the district.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, a local trader said the police themselves were responsible for the rising crime rate.
According to sources, reports of the Special Branch regarding involvement of some officials of various police stations in protecting criminals were ignored while appointing them on the basis of recommendations of influential people. They said several competent staffers had been sidelined and some suspects of street crimes had been freed despite the presence of CCTV footage of the incidents.
In the wee hours of May 7, local residents caught one of four suspects during a robbery, while the others managed to flee.
The incident took place near Multan Public School, Bosan Road, where the four suspects tried to snatch a motorcycle from a man named Ataur Rehman. After resistance by the victim, the locals caught one of the dacoits. The local residents beat up the suspected dacoit.
However, the suspect then received a phone call from an accomplice, the video of which went viral on social media.
In the video, the robber on phone could be heard saying his friends would send policemen to rescue him.
Upon receiving the information, the police rushed to the spot and arrested the suspect identified as Farooq. It was later revealed that they had also obtained the phone record of the calls, which were found to be of a Muharrar of a police station.
Police officials told The Express Tribune that the police had ordered an inquiry in this regard, which was currently under way.
Strict action will be taken if any policeman is found involved, they claimed.
Meanwhile, the senior officers often carry out surprise visits to different police stations and claim that the overall crime situation is under control.
Multan RPO Syed Khurram Ali said he had started planning to activate the CIA, which could yield positive results.
Various committees have also been formed at the divisional and circle levels in the district to control crimes.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2021.