Saturday December 02, 2023

Rangers confident bad old days of organised crime are gone

October 29, 2018

Karachi was on the sixth position on the international crime index back in 2014, but the steadily improving law and order situation has brought the metropolitan city down to number 68, a Sindh Rangers official told The News on Sunday. He, however, admitted that street crime is still a challenge.

In a recent report submitted to different government departments as well as law enforcement and security agencies, the paramilitary force claimed that their uninterrupted operation in the city for the past five years has decreased terrorism and target killings.

The report stated that before the relevant powers were granted to the Sindh Rangers, the situation in Karachi was very disturbing, especially the menaces of terrorism and target killings, which were at their peak.

In view of that, a strategy was devised together with the police and other related agencies, following which a major crackdown was carried out against terrorists and other criminals, so that now, in the year 2018, the rates of different crimes, especially terrorism and target killings, have plummeted.

The paramilitary official told The News that right now there is no organised criminal group in the metropolis or a militant wing in any political party of the city. He claimed that the Rangers and the police are in a position that they would not allow any group to reorganise and disturb the peace of Karachi again.

In response to a query, the official said that notorious gangsters Zahid Ladla and Wasiullah Lakho are taking refuge in Iran, adding that they are trying to reorganise their group from there.

However, he added, Zahid Ladla and Lakho should keep this in mind that if they attempt to return and reorganise their gangs, they would face the same fate as their fellow gangsters Ghaffar Zikri and Baba Ladla.

The Rangers official said street crime is reported every year, adding that all the relevant agencies as well as the people need to work together to curb this menace. He said they would install more CCTV cameras throughout the metropolis to help reduce the rate of street crime.

He claimed that after the paramilitary force arrested over 2,500 street criminals and handed them over to the police for further action, 72 per cent of them managed to get bail within a month.

Sharing the details of the Karachi operation from 2013 to date, he said that over 14,000 raids were carried out in which some 11,100 criminals were arrested and handed over to the police with 13,000 weapons and thousands of bullets.

He said the Rangers also arrested 2,200 terrorists, 1,847 target killers, 799 extortionists and 200 kidnappers, adding that the paramilitary force rescued 155 people from their abductors. The Rangers’ report paints a clear picture of improvement in Karachi’s law and order situation. It states that in 2013 there were 57 incidents of terrorism and in 2014 they increased to 66, but then major operations decreased the figure to 18 in 2015 and 16 in 2016, following which no terrorism case has been reported in Karachi to date.

As for target killings, 965 people fell victim in 2013, but the number has been decreasing since then: 602 in 2014, 199 in 2015, 89 in 2016, 45 in 2017 and only six this year.

Extortion has also been a major challenge for the law enforcement and security agencies: in 2013 there were 1,524 cases, in 2014 they were brought down to 899, in 2015 they were 303, in 2016 the number dropped down to 101, in 2017 the reported cases were not over 65 and this year there have been 38 such cases.

Kidnappings have also been on the decline: 174 cases were reported in 2013, 115 in 2014, 37 in 2015, 26 in 2016, 18 in 2017 and a dozen this year. By the time 2017 had ended, it had emerged that maintenance of law and order, especially in Karachi, has been a persistent challenge for Sindh’s police and Rangers officials. With an average of at least one person killed a day in the metropolis last year, the law enforcement and security agencies were far from restoring peace in the city.

More than 400 people were targeted across the city during 2017. Seventeen policemen, including a deputy superintendent of police, a Rangers official, a retired colonel, two doctors, a bank manager and 68 women were among the victims. Some 1,150 people were also injured in different incidents.

In January last year, four people, including two policemen and an activist of a political party, were targeted. Some 35 people, including seven women, were also killed in robberies and over personal enmities.

In February, some 40 people, including five women, a guard of the police foundation, an assistant engineer of a private TV channel and a secretary of the Afghan Consulate, were targeted. Thirty-four people were targeted in March, 48 in April, 58 in May and 35, including four policemen, in June. In July, four policemen, four activists of political parties and 39 others were targeted for different motives, including personal enmities.

In August, 45 people, including four women, three children and a transgender person, were killed. In September, the police foiled a bid to kill Sindh Assembly opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan. The lawmaker survived, but two people, including a policeman, did not, while six others, including law enforcers, were injured.

The same month, 23 people, including a former councillor, were killed. In October, 18 people, including two policemen and a Rangers official, were targeted. Eighteen more people were killed in November, while nine fatalities were reported by mid-December.