LAHORE  - At least 237 most-wanted criminals (MWC) and more than 90,000 Proclaimed Offenders (POs) are at large in the largest Punjab province as the law enforcing agency has failed to arrest these hardened criminals in 2013.

The police record reveals that at least 89545 proclaimed offenders, who are wanted to the police in multiple killings, murders, kidnapping for ransom, and armed robberies, and other incidents of crimes are at large across the Punjab. According to the Punjab police “Black Book,” at least 237 most wanted criminals (MWC) are also yet to be captured.

The pathetic situation put a big question mark on the working of the police force. In 2011, the Punjab Police had printed and distributed the second edition of the Black Book-2010 that contained the particulars of 263 most wanted criminals. As per police statistic, the closing balance of most wanted criminals was 245 on January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2012. Last year, the police added 22 criminals in the Black Book (from January to November) after they were arrested from various parts of the province. Out of these 245 criminals at least eight were either killed in shootouts or they died. The criminals whose names are listed in the Black Book are involved in at least three cases of heinous crimes each that include abduction for ransom and dacoity with murder among others. The particulars printed include their photographs with names, fathers’ names, CNIC numbers, identification marks, last known addresses and details of cases they are allegedly involved in. Yet the provincial police badly failed to make a breakthrough.

The first edition of the Black Book was published in November 2008 and it had contained the particulars of 338 criminals. Last year, the Punjab police had announced that the names Top-10 Proclaimed Offenders (POs) of each district of the Punjab province would also be included in the black book. Punjab police completed preparations for the publication of third edition of Black Book in September last and sent a letter to the Home Department for addition of 45 fresh names of absconders in the list. The new edition of the Black Book is yet to be published.

Police sources say they believe the non-arrest of most wanted criminals and proclaimed offenders is the major reason behind the surge in the crimes incidents.

According to a police report, at least 25,000 vehicles including 4125 cars were either snatched at gunpoint or stolen away from different parts of the province in 2013 while the police recovered only 666 cars from the clutches of the criminals. The police also reported more than 30,000 armed robberies in the province including 2500 dacoities and 17,000 robberies in which the victims were robbed of cash and valuables worth Rs11205 million.

Apart from brutal killings, the bandits on Saturday hit the Punjab metropolis for more than 30 times and snatched away cash, gold ornaments, cellular phones, and other valuables worth millions of rupees.

During the previous week, armed bandits struck the provincial capital for more than 235 times successfully and made off with cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth Rs850 million. The gunmen also took away 35 cars and no less than 100 motorcycles from different parts of the City, thanks to the police and government for leaving the Lahorites at the mercy of the dacoits.

Killings on resistance during armed robberies are emerging as the most serious threat to pubic since the police are unable to smash the gangs of rogue criminals who are on the loose and striking with impunity. More than 56 citizens including women and children were murdered by dacoits on putting up resisting in 2013 in various parts of Punjab.

According to the sources, more than 300 robberies including house robberies are taking place every day in the largest Punjab province. They say the police are reporting only 25 per cent of the total crimes incidents in order to show “good work” in the official record.

They believe the police deliberately hush up armed robberies which take place in the rural areas and small districts while the complainants are harassed when they approach the police stations for the registration of armed robberies.

The police performance is sharply declining in the Punjab province with more than 90,000 proclaimed offenders are still at large and poor investigations badly hampering the prosecution of crimes cases of heinous nature.