The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the Inspector General of Police to look into increasing number of cellphone thefts in the city and chalk out a strategy with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block stolen handsets.
The issue of the use of stolen cellphones in criminal activities came to the fore during the hearing of a petition seeking the rescue of a local government driver, Muhammad Shahid, who had been kidnapped by unidentified men and has yet to be found.
The judges were informed that Shahid had been abducted some time ago. On Thursday, police officials said Shahid’s mobile phone was sold to another man, Ali, who later sold it to another person, Shaukat.
Standing next to police officials in court, Shaukat told the judges that stolen cellphones are openly sold on Lyari’s footpaths.
When the astonished judges questioned Inspector Ahmed Ali Shah – who is investigating the case – about this, he stated that he wasn’t aware of the fact that stolen cellphones are sold openly in Lyari.
“The Inspector General of Police is expected to take note of deteriorating law and order situation in the city,” said Chief Justice Mushir Alam, who headed the bench. But he noted that no efforts have been made to block stolen cellphones with the assistance of telecommunication companies.
Law officer Miran Muhammad Shah told the judges that a meeting of PTA and cellular service companies will be held on May 25 in the office of the Sindh Advocate General.
The bench directed the AG to discuss at the meeting the methods by which stolen cellphones can be blocked. The bench also called for a public desk to be set up which would be facilitated by the IG police and PTA.
The purpose of the desk is to expedite the process of blocking stolen cellphones using the International Mobile Equipment Identity number and to control crime.
Justice Mushir directed the police chief to look into the rising incidents of mobile snatching and ensure that senior law enforcers attend the proposed meeting.
He added that a solution to the problem should be devised and submitted to the court by June 26.
The court also ordered the district municipal commissioner of Malir to give the missing driver’s salary to his family as they have been struggling to support themselves since the breadwinner had been kidnapped.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2013.