LAHORE  -  The poor enforcement of Shops and Establishment Ordinance (Security) 1999 by the Lahore Police has resulted 80 percent increase in the incidents of robberies in Cantonment Police Division during the last two and half months as compared to the corresponding period the 2011. 

The Cantonment Division, which comprises 35 percent area of entire city and also tops regarding population, is controlled by Lahore Police, Military Police, Garrison Security Force, Cantonment Board, Counter Terrorism Department, security agencies and other institutions. Ironically, except South Cantonment and Sarwar Road, which is actual Cantonment, house robberies have increased in Ghaziabad, Mustafabad, Hadyara, Manawan, Batapur and Burki police areas.   

The Shops and Establishment Ordinance (Security) 1999, however, says that the Provincial Government should regularize and enforce measures for the security of property and lives of people associated with establishment, financial institutions; and any office, firm, company, institution, industrial unit, shop or premises which undertakes any business, trade, manufacture, employment or occupation. The Ordinance further warns that if any person contravenes any order made under this Act, he shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to fifteen thousand rupees or with both and if the offence continues, the Establishment  may be kept sealed till such time the order is complied with. Notwithstanding the presence of this Ordinance and Police Rules, the dacoits seemed roaming freely in Defence-A, Defence-B, Baghbanpura, Harbanspura and North Cantonment Police Stations where the crime of all categories including armed robberies, dacoities, rape, gang rape, robbery-cum-murder, cars theft and motorcars theft has increased manifold in Cantonment Division.

Informed sources have confided to The Nation that the Ring Road and its adjoining areas in Cantonment Division were out of control of Lahore Police, as some notorious dacoit gangs had been operating in those areas since long. “Officers of Traffic Police and City Police have been patronizing these criminals, who are involving in armed robberies with passengers of national and international airlines especially at night,” they added. According to them, a former CTO Lahore had dismissed a police officer, who was found patronizing the criminals, has not only been reinstated but also been appointed in same area near Ring Road. “Police patrol on Ring Road but they cannot nab the criminals as they are short of equipments,” they added.

According to the police statistics, around 141 cases of robberies were reported in current year, whereas only 86 cases were lodged last year, 2011. Similarly, no case of section 382 of PPC (theft cases) was lodged in last year while around 12 cases have been registered in different police stations in the current year. Likewise, the incidents of dacoities, cars and motorcars theft and murder attempts have increased. According to official statistics, over 120 brothel houses and some 42 gambling are also being operated by anti-social elements in connivance with influential people.

Talking about the rise in crime, SP (Operations) Cantonment Division Imtiaz Sarwar said that although he knew about the ‘chemistry’ of the Cantonment, the residents of Ghaziabad, Harbanspura, Manawan, Burki, Hadyara and Defence A&B should also show responsibility towards maintaining law and orders. He, however, claimed that the division topped in nabbing proclaimed offenders and court absconders and drug peddlers. “We are seeking cooperation of Motorways Police, DHA and Tracking Companies to slow down the incidents of cars and motorcycles theft,” he added. Mr. Imtiaz Sarwar, however, claimed he would chalk out a comprehensive strategy regarding brothel houses and gambling dens.