LAHORE - The provincial government has been asked to help police develop an organised system for registration of tenants and guests in the country’s second most populated city.

Lahore police yesterday suggested the Punjab government to amend the laws in order to make the process of tenants’ registration simpler and trouble-free.

Under the Punjab Information of Temporary Residence Ordinance 2015, police in Lahore are carrying out massive security sweeps in hostels, hotels, inns, guesthouses, and rented apartments besides checking the particulars of tenants. This exercise was launched early this year as part of the National Action Plan to hunt down militants and criminals.

Lahore police have arrested some six thousand persons including landlords, tenants, property dealers, owners, and managers of private accommodations for violating the tenant laws since January.

A senior police officer told The Nation that at least 3909 cases were registered against the violators in City, Cantonment, Civil Lines, Sadar, Iqbal Town, and Model Town police divisions. The exercise has been yielding good results but “there must be a mechanism to urge people for registration voluntarily”.

Lahore DIG (Operations) Haider Ashraf recently forwarded a letter to the Capital City Police Officer, suggesting the government to take on board the Punjab Law Department, Punjab Information and Technology Board, and the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

“It is strongly felt that there should an organised system. The tenants’ registration may be devised with the help of PITB,” the memorandum says. The Lahore police chief will take up the matter with the provincial hierarchy in the near future to make easier the process of registration of tenants. Security experts say the government and public institutions should launch an awareness campaign to educate ordinary people about the importance the Punjab Information of Temporary Residence Ordinance 2015 before implementing the laws with force.

City police are working with other institutions to introduce a hassle-free system so that people could provide information to the police about their tenants voluntarily.

According to the proposed pattern, all the owners and tenants should personally come to the police station for the registration. The tenants should get themselves registered with the local police through fingerprints and ID cards.

Similarly, only authorised property dealers (to be notified by the Punjab government) could be tasked to register property owners and tenants through the same procedure that is fingerprints.

Also, a web-based system should be formulated so that people could get themselves registered voluntarily after paying a “token fee.”

As far as the registration of commercial accommodations is concerned, software may be installed at all the hostels, hotels, and guesthouses where the visitors’ record could be documented. The owners of commercial properties would be requested to bear the cost of verification through Nadra.

The shopkeepers and businessmen while renting their properties or hiring private workers should also submit all the relevant data to the local police through the same software.

Amid rapid urbanisation, police sources said, the procedure of registration of millions of tenants and tens of thousands of guests is really an uphill task for the law enforcement agency. Even if the police successfully collect all the tenants’ information, the department has no manpower and skills to maintain the data in computers devices.

Official sources say that the implementation of the Punjab Information and Temporary Residents Ordinance 2015 is going on but slowly.

According to the Ordinance, administration of hotels and guesthouses is bound to provide information about the renters to the local police within three hours. Similarly, it is made compulsory for the real-estate agents to submit the information about their tenants to the police within 48 hours after the house is rented out.

Otherwise, the police are ordered to register criminal cases against the violators. The police are maintaining the record of temporary residents in each police station and the cops are asked to collect data from each and every rented house or guesthouse.