Crime overview: Islamabad, the not-so-safe

While no suicide blasts were recorded in 2010, the police failed to curtail other forms of crime in the city.

Rana Tanveer/Umer Nangiana January 01, 2011

ISLAMABAD: A relative calm was experienced in Islamabad in 2010 after three deadly years during which seven suicide bombings took place in 2009 alone. But the same cannot be said about other forms of crime in the city.

The number of car thefts in Islamabad was up by an alarming 75 per cent, from 400 cars stolen in 2009 to 700 in 2010. The number of cars stolen in Lahore and Karachi was higher, but not by much. In Karachi, 829 cars were stolen till September 2010, and 1,329 cars were stolen in Lahore. Factor in the difference in the city sizes and Islamabad fared much worse than Lahore and Karachi. (Lahore is roughly 10 times bigger and Karachi is roughly 13 times bigger than Islamabad, measured by population).

A total of 124 murder cases were registered in Islamabad in the first 11 months of 2010. This is 12 more than 2009. (The difference will go even higher once the murder cases for December are tabulated).

In comparison, Karachi Police registered 1,100 murders in 2010, 265 more than 2009. Similarly 544 murder cases were registered in Lahore this past year. Again, Islamabad fares much worse when one factors in the sizes of the three cities.

One thing where Islamabad was miles ahead of Karachi was the number of cases registered under the Zina Ordinance. A total of 137 cases were registered under the ordinance in 2010 (against 116 in 2009). In contrast only 34 such cases were registered in Karachi (down from 48 in 2009).

The price of war against terror

Lahore witnessed the worst year in its history in terms of terrorist attacks. Shrines, minority sects and ethnics groups were in the terrorists’
cross hair.

According to data available with Lahore city administration, more than 250 people were killed in as many as 18 terrorist activities in 2010, compared to 115 deaths in terrorist attacks in 2009.

Karachi was not better off, either. A total of 133 incidents of terrorist activities including arrests, surrenders, threats, explosions and killings were recorded in Karachi in 2010, against 45 in 2009.

Ethnic violence, target killings

The country’s largest city, Karachi, remained the terror stage with more incidents of target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence, bomb blasts and other terrorist activities than any other city.

According to a report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as many as 711 people were killed in target killings in the first 11 months of 2010 in Karachi. This is an alarming 144 per cent increase over the death toll the previous year (291, according to HRCP report for 2009).

Rapes, suicides and kidnappings

The number of cases of suicides and gang rapes witnessed a stark increase in Karachi this past year. There were only four cases of gang rape in 2009 but the figure rose to an alarming 25 in the first nine months of 2010, according to the official statistics of the Karachi
city police.

The year 2010 witnessed an increase in the number of suicide cases in all three cities, particularly Karachi where 21 more cases of suicide were recorded by the police in the first nine months of 2010 as compared to a total number of 33 cases in 2009.

However, the real horror for the resident of Karachi and Lahore were the kidnapping for ransom cases. Over 40 people were kidnapped for ransom in 2010 in Lahore and 57 in Karachi, against three such cases in 2009.

Karachi recorded over 3,000 incidents robberies and burglaries in 2010 which was almost same as 2009. However, the number of incidents of robberies remained well over 1200 and in Islamabad the ratio of robberies remained higher than 2009 with just below 500 cases of robberies and burglaries  recorded, according to the police record.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2011.

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