LAHORE – Robbers struck two jewellery shops within 48 hours, shot at and wounded jewellers, and snatched away gold ornaments worth Rs. 70 million from different parts of the City past week.

The brazen robberies in broad daylight put a question mark on the working of CIA police because the gunmen hit the shops in leading commercial centers in Faisal Town and Iqbal Town police areas and fled away easily.

According to police, three gunmen stormed into a jewellery shop situated in Abuzar Tower in Faisal Town police vicinity on Tuesday and snatched away gold ornaments worth Rs. 10 million. The same day, gangsters held up two women at gunpoint at the main road in Shadbagh police precincts, tortured them, and took away cash and gold ornaments worth hundreds of thousands of rupees.

Within just 48 hours of this incident, six gunmen forced their entry into another jewellery shop in Iqbal Town police area and snatched away gold ornaments worth Rs. 60 million. The police have registered the cases with no clue or arrests so far.

The Crime Investigations Agency (CIA), also known as the Anti-Organised Crime Police, is a wing of the Punjab police with prime responsibility of fighting against organised crimes, particularly armed robberies, kidnappings for ransom and blind murders.

Since April 2012, robbers have hit 13 banks in different parts of the provincial metropolis and snatched million of rupees. The CIA police are still unable to unearth the gangs involved in the bank dacoities despite the lapse of one year.

Early this year, the government replaced ranker SP CIA Omar Virk with a PSP officer, Malik Liaquat Ali, expecting that he would clear the mess and improve the CIA’s working, but he has failed to make any difference.

Police sources believe that a few professional gangs comprising three to six gunmen are behind the major armed robberies because they are actively operating in the City, but the anti-organised crime police are unable to nab these organised gangsters. Street crimes and armed robberies have swelled to an alarming level during the past couple of months, but the CIA police are yet to make any breakthrough as far as major robberies are concerned. If the professional crime-fighting agency – CIA police – under the command of a PSP officer is helpless against these organised criminals, it indicates that the City police would hardly be able to nab them.

CM ends interference: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has ended political interference in the police matters, especially in postings and transfers.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Habibur Rehman told reporters last week that the chief minister has set a remarkable tradition by discouraging politicians from interfering in police affairs. Officials in the Chief Minister Secretariat say that Shahbaz Sharif wanted to change thana culture by fully empowering the police. Therefore, the police top-brass is being provided what they call “level playing field”, to not only ensure justice at the grassroots level but also clean the mess in the police department.

An officer told this reporter that the political interference in the police affairs badly affects the working of the law-enforcing agency. “When an SHO is appointed on the recommendation of some influential politician, how can we expect good results from him? He will serve the interests of the politician who got him hired rather than the department,” he explained. Challan books withdrawn: On the orders of Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer (RPO) Zulifqar Cheema, challan books have been withdraw from the traffic police officials serving in Sheikhupura, Kasur and Nankana districts.

Cheema, a seasoned officer known as an encounter specialist, has taken the decision to provide relief to the motorists. Insiders said that the challan books have been withdraw from all the traffic policemen on the orders of the DIG, following Cheema’s observation that most of the officials were involved in minting money from the innocent drivers in the name of traffic challans. It is a good initiative since no books mean no challan, no traffic police pickets and no worry for the drivers. Let us drive at your own risk!