LAHORE – Breaking all previous records, dacoits robbed no less than 150 houses; looted more than 1,000 families, motorists, passers-by and shopkeepers; and drove away about 200 cars and more than 300 motorcycles during the holy month of Ramazan from different parts of the provincial metropolis.

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. The worsening law and order situation in the heart of Punjab should be more than an eye opener for Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who picked up ‘diligent’ officers to run the affairs of the Lahore police. Now, when the heads of the Investigation and Operation wings of the police have poorly failed to stop rising crimes, they must be held accountable and shown the door.

The police got frustrated and killed more than a dozen alleged robbers in fake and staged encounters during the holy month but there was no let-up in the rising crimes. The more the police tightened its screws on gangsters by staging fake encounters to eliminate them, the stronger they hit back.

Gangsters shot down more than five people on offering resistance during armed robberies in different parts of the City, while they also shot at and wounded several other people as they tried to raise an alarm during a robbery attempt in the holy month.

For instance, armed bandits successfully hit the provincial metropolis 16 times on Saturday, looted four houses and made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth Rs6 million on gunpoint. At least five cars and 13 motorcycles were either snatched or stolen away from different parts of the City on the same day.

Similarly, on Friday, robbers looted seven houses located in different parts of the City and made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions of rupees on gunpoint. On Wednesday, at least eight cars and 11 motorcycles were either snatched or stolen away from various parts of the City.

On last Monday, robbers shot dead a 45-year-old cashier on putting up resistance at a filling tation, situated at a stone’s throw from the office of the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) on Fatima Jinnah Road.

Last week (August 5-12), robbers equipped with automatic weapons hit the Punjab capital successfully more than 130 times, 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. During the same week, the police staged fake encounters and shot dead three bandits in different parts of Lahore, but the gunmen continued their looting spree with more brazen strikes across the City.

During the first week of this month, armed bandits went on the rampage, robbed no less than 50 houses, looted two parliamentarians and hit the residence of a senior police officer in the posh DHA locality.

Both the Investigation and Operation wings of the City police miserably failed to control the crime rate and nab the organised gangs. There was no major arrest, breakthrough or recovery of looted valuables in high-profile cases during the holy month as gunmen riding on motorcycles continued looting spree with impunity.

Police sources claimed that robbers had broken all the previous records as they struck more than 1,150 times in the biggest city of the most populated province and successfully fled away, leaving the police investigators to beat about the bush.

Police sources say a number of organised gangs were brazenly operating in the City and the police were unable to smash their network because of one reason or the other. From bank robberies to armed dacoities at jewellery shops and blind murders to multiple killings, hundreds of cases are yet to be traced despite the lapse of several months.

Sources believe that corruption-marred police miserably failed to implement a well-thought-out plan to downgrade crimes during the holy month. As a matter of fact, the police in Lahore poorly failed to perform their duty of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens during the holy month. Those who are movers and shakers in the provincial hierarchy should confess that they are unable to protect the people on the roads and within the four-walls.