LAHORE – Five police stations of the Model Town Police Division are harbouring over 200 gambling dens and brothels, where anti-social activities and betting are being promoted by the former Lahore SSP (Operations) Chaudhary Shafqaat and his like-minded police officers.

Official documents, a copy of which is available with TheNation, reveal that 24 gambling dens and brothels are located in the authority of the Garden Town Police Station, 23 in Faisal Town, 20 in Ichhra, 34 in Liaqatabad, 18 in Kot Lakhpat, 6 in Naseerabad, 11 in Nishtar Colony, 6 in Model Town, 12 in Gulberg, 4 in Kahna, 20 in Ghalib Market and 3 in Shadman police area.

According to a confidential police report, former SSP Chaudhary Shafqaat Ahmed and Garden Town Police Station are supporting a gambling den being run by one Shahid Khan in Barkat Market. Similarly, Liaqatabad Police Station is patronizing a gambling den of Mian Ijaz alias Jajji while several brothels and gambling dens are being operated by anti-social elements and notorious gamblers under the patronage of Kot Lakhpat police in the abovementioned division.

The police report further reveals that Model Town Police Station (SP Operations Office) is also backing two disreputable gambler Zaheer alias Raeesa and Garra of Link Road. Likewise, a leading gambling den is being operated by Khawaja Arif alias Papu in Main Market, and the Gulberg police are supporting the den. Model Town SP (Operations) Malik Muhammad Awais, however, says that “No officer can be so morally corrupt that he would ‘eat’ the food earned from the business of brothels or gambling dens.”

He said although his priority was to bust and arrest notorious gangs, dacoits and hardened criminals, the police are also committed to eliminating gambling dens, drugs spots and anti-social dens. He also disclosed that most guesthouses have obtained certificates from the Lahore Development Authority where they have established brothels. “So, the policemen are helpless.”

To a query regarding police patronage to such dens, the SP said, “I curse such SHOs if they are involved in this crime.” He, however, said that now police raid on gambling dens or brothels “is carried out by ASPs and SHOs, which has minimized the chances of corruption or ‘monthly culture’”.

The police report further says that Ichhra DSP Muhammad Abid Pehlwan and police concerned know about Riaz and Madho Shah, who are running a gambling den in Javed Market, but no action has been taken against the culprits. Garden Town DSP Tahir Hussain and Faisal Town SHO are fully aware of the leading den owned by Adil Jatakh Jamsheed, situated near PACE Plaza, on the Link Road, where international gaming is underway day and night.

According to the confidential report, House # 7, Aibak Block, near Mughl-e-Azam Marriage Hall, is a notorious gambling den where millionaires and businessmen play betting and enjoy.

A senior police officer privy to the development told this reporter that Model Town DSP Shahzada Saleem, Garden Town DSP Tahir Hussain, Ichhra DSP Muhammad Abid Pehlwan, Gulberg ASP Shahzad Nadeem Bokhari and Kahna DSP Mukhtar Shah know about the brothels and gambling dens. “But they are reluctant to take any action,” he said.

According to the statistics of the Capital City Police, 1,045 police officers including two SPs (Operations) and Investigation, five sub-divisional officers, 12 Inspectors, 61 sub-inspectors, 82 assistant sub-inspectors, 93 head constables and 790 constables are discharging their duties in the Model Town Police Division, but they have failed to arrest the gamblers.