LAHORE – The more the police are ‘eliminating’ the robbers in staged encounters, the stronger the bandits are striking in every nook and corner of the provincial metropolis.
Gangsters are committing brazen and broad daylight robberies while both the operation and investigation wings of the City police have virtually ‘surrendered’ to the organised gangs with no major arrest, breakthrough or recovery of looted valuables in high-profile cases. Apparently, it seems that the bandits have sneaked into the police plan ahead of Eid because the gunmen riding on motorcycles are looting passers-by, motorists, families, houses and shops with impunity.
Last week, armed bandits went on the rampage in the Punjab capital, robbed no less than 50 houses, looted two parliamentarians and hit the residence of a senior police officer in the posh DHA locality. In more than 130 armed robberies , bandits collected cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions of rupees and fled away. At least 20 cars and 43 motorcycles were either stolen or snatched away on gunpoint from different parts of the City during the same period.
The police staged fake encounters and shot dead three bandits in different parts of the City during the past seven days but the gunmen are continuing their looting spree with more brazen strikes across the City.
On Friday, robbers successfully hit the provincial metropolis 13 times and made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions of rupees. The gunmen also held up one Javed Ahmed, said to be Member of the Punjab Assembly from Pakpattan district, and snatched away cash and valuables worth Rs50,000. As if not enough, on the same day, two motorcyclists held up a traffic warden on gunpoint in the Shahdara police area and deprived him of his cash and mobile phone worth Rs15,000.
On Thursday, gunmen looted five houses and escaped after collecting cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth Rs10 million. In a single robbery incident, which took place at the residence of a local trader in the Shadbagh area, robbers held up the family members on gunpoint and took away cash and gold ornaments worth Rs5 million. Three cars and four motorcycles were also stolen from different police areas on the same day, leaving the police investigators to beat behind the bush.
On Wednesday, gunmen struck the provincial metropolis more than 21 times and snatched away cash and gold ornaments worth Rs8.9 million. At least eight vehicles were also either snatched or stolen away from different areas.
Gunmen made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuable worth Rs5.5 million in over a dozen strikes on Tuesday. The bandits also shot at and wounded a man on offering resistance during a road robbery attempt. Two cars and four motorcycles were also driven away from different areas.
The City literally became haven for the bandits on Monday because gunmen hit the provincial metropolis no less than 24 times. The gunmen shot dead the manager of a private company, wounded his security guard and fled away after snatching the cash-bag containing Rs4 million from the Islampura police area in broad daylight.
One of the robbers also succumbed to bullet injuries during the crossfire on the road in the congested locality, creating fear and terror among the passers-by and shopkeepers. On the same day, gunmen barged into the DHA residence of Intisar Jaffari, senior superintendent of police , in the Defense police area. The robbers wounded his mother as she tried to raise an alarm, and fled away after collecting cash and gold ornaments.
On Sunday, robbers looted six houses situated in different parts of the City and took away cash and gold ornaments worth Rs8 million. Not enough, at least three cars and 13 motorcycles were either stolen or snatched away from different areas on the same day. However, the police staged an encounter in the Mustafabad area and shot dead two alleged robbers. Police claimed that the bandits were hardened criminals.
The brazen robberies, house dacoities and killings on resistance in broad daylight have put a big question mark on the working of the corruption-riddled Lahore police , thanks to the provincial hierarchy for choosing police officers like DIG (Investigations) Chaudhry Shafique and DIG Operations Rai Muhammad Tahir to maintain law and order in the biggest City of the populated Punjab province.
Police circles believe that personal disputes between the police officers serving on key slots in Lahore, lack of professional capability and lack of interest are other reasons behind the surge in crimes because the police have miserably failed to implement a well-thought-out plan to downgrade crimes and unearth the criminals.
Since all is not well in the Punjab capital, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must hold the police officers accountable for the deteriorating law and order in his home town. These police officers have miserably failed in performing their basic job of protecting the life and property of the citizens.