Sunday June 04, 2023

PTI plea against Karachi street crime dismissed as unmaintainable

March 28, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has dismissed a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the rapid increase in street crime incidents, including mobile phone and vehicle thefts, across Karachi after finding it unmaintainable.

PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman had submitted in the petition that last year the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee had published data on street crime in the city showing an alarming number of incidents, including thefts of phones, motorbikes and cars.

Zaman said that 18,781 citizens were deprived of their phones, while 23,000 were stolen this year. He said that around 38,000 motorbikes were also snatched. The lawmaker said the rural areas of the province were also affected by lawlessness, adding that there were still no-go areas where people could not move freely.

He said police and other law enforcement agencies had failed to prevent street crime in Karachi, adding that the crime rate was increasing day by day, especially thefts of vehicles and phones as well as other incidents.

The PTI leader said the authorities concerned had been approached for taking action against the culprits, and for maintaining law and order, including controlling street crime, but they failed to respond to maintain public administration.

He requested the court to direct the respondents to maintain public administration and protect the residents from street crime. He also sought the details of the crimes reported in the jurisdictions of Karachi’s police stations and what efforts were made for recovering the stolen items.

An SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha observed that no one had appeared before the court without intimation. The court observed that the petition’s prayer clause revealed that the petition was unmaintainable in constitutional jurisdiction, and dismissed the same as unmaintainable and for non-prosecution.

Plea for protection

The SHC also issued notices to the Sindh police chief and others on petitions filed by PTI lawmakers seeking protection against arrest during peaceful protests of the party in Karachi.

PTI MNA Aftab Ahmed Siddiqui and MPA Zaman submitted in their petitions that the PTI had decided to lodge a protest campaign against the ruling government in different cities of the country, including Karachi.

They submitted that the ruling political party in Sindh is the Pakistan People Party, and that there was apprehension that the government might use state machinery against the PTI’s peaceful protest as a large number of party activists and lawmakers were already booked in false and fabricated cases.

They submitted that the police had earlier arrested PTI lawmakers without any approval of the national and provincial assemblies’ speakers, which was against the rules of procedure of the Sindh Assembly as well as the National Assembly.

The court was requested to direct the police and law enforcement agencies to provide protection to PTI lawmakers during the peaceful protests in Karachi and restrain them from registering false FIRs against them.

After the preliminary hearing of the petition, an SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro issued notices to the IGP and others, calling for their comments to be filed on April 3.