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May 30, 2019

10 crime reporters robbed on the streets of Karachi in five months


May 30, 2019

Due to the ongoing crisis in the media industry, a Karachi-based senior journalist Liaquat Kashmiri had only a modest amount in his bank account late on Tuesday night. With Eid nearing and children restlessly asking for new clothes, he decided to withdraw that money.

As he approached an ATM in Saudabad, he was preoccupied with the fear of being mugged – thanks to his job as a journalist who have to deal with crime stories every day and who have a lack of access to stress management facilities.

However, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, so he went to the ATM but then came muggers. They hit Kashmiri with the butt of a pistol causing blood from his head to stream down his face. The robbers took away the journalist’s cash, mobile phone and motorcycle, leaving him with a crime story in which he himself was the protagonist.

This has been a story of almost every citizen of Karachi as incidents of street crime, mugging, and motorcycles and cars’ snatching have become a daily routine in the megacity, despite the frequent so-called police patrolling, snap checking, raids and combing operations which seem to have resulted in no let-up in the crime.

Each day, when crime reporters start their shift, they call various police sources for information about the crimes committed in the city that day. Every day, several residents of Karachi are found to be the victims of theft, kidnappings and killings. Perhaps, the most frequent of these crimes is the theft of motorcycles, either through snatching at gunpoint or stealing while they are parked.

When crime reporters have completed a few years in their field, news of crimes stop affecting their emotions as they become a routine for them. Incidents of murders, abductions and theft all become simply numbers in a metropolis teeming with a plethora of issues.

However, the crimes really hit home when reporters themselves are the victims. The irony is that such reporters become a part of their own statistics, joining the scores of others in the victim count that is part of their daily grind.

Since the last few months, about a dozen of crime reporters became themselves victims of street crime, despite having strong contacts with the law enforcers. They have also been facing the same tactics and excuses by the police which the force uses while dealing with the common citizens.

The victims

In the recent incident of broad daylight incident of motorcycle snatching, this correspondent lost his Honda CG-125 motorcycle model 2019 bearing the registration number KML-2424 when two armed men on a motorcycle snatched it at gunpoint outside the Masoomeen Imambargah in Federal B Area Block 14 within the limits of the Jauharabad police station.

Another similar incident occurred last month, when senior crime reporter Asif Ali Syed, currently associated with Urdu daily 92 News, lost his silver Suzuki Cultus AHS-649 on April 26 parked outside his residence in Sector 18-B, Scheme 33 in Quetta Town within the limits of the Sacchal police station.

Another senior crime reporter, Shakeel Anjum Lashari, working for local news agency NNI, was deprived of his Honda CD-70 motorcycle model 1999, bearing the registration number BRG-5861, on January 29 this year in Nusrat Bhutto Colony within the limits of the Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan police station.

Snatchers also targeted Dunya News reporter Shoaib Bukhari as gunmen riding a motorcycle snatched his mobile phone and salary from him at gunpoint within the Sharea Faisal police station’s limits on April 18. The Dawn TV’s head of crime desk, Imran Hafeez, lost his mobile phone and Rs23,000 at gunpoint on Mauripur Road within the limits of the Kalri police station on April 16.

Gunmen also robbed K21 news channel reporter Saulat Jafri of his mobile phone and cash at gunpoint in Buffer Zone on April 12, within the limits of the Taimuria police station.

Another reporter, Shahrukh Khan, associated with Metro1 news channel, lost his motorcycle after unidentified thieves stole it on May 4 from outside his residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block 13-D within the limits of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station. A senior crime reporter associated with ARY News, Kamil Arif, was deprived of his mobile phone and cash at gunpoint in the middle of May, within the limits of the Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan police station.

Another crime reporter, Bilal Khan, an employee of Public News, was robbed of his motorcycle, cash, laptop and mobile phone at gunpoint within the limits of the Ferozabad police station on December 25, 2018.

Street criminals also mugged Aap News reporter Muhammad Kamran and took away his mobile phone and cash within the limits of the Surjani Town police station last month.

Apart from these, a number of other journalists have also been deprived of their valuables in the current year, including Ali Raza associated with Geo News who lost his motorcycle last week.

As crime reporters were repeatedly affected by the street crime in recent months, the Crime Reporters Association (CRA) has taken notice of the situation. Condemning the frequent incidents of crime with the crime reporters, the CRA has given a 10-day ultimatum to the police department to recover the stolen valuables of the reporters.

Additional IG Karachi Dr Amir Shaikh told the CRA that he would constitute a special police team to ensure recoveries of the looted valuables. “We just held a meeting over this serious burning issue and in the meeting, we have given a 10-day ultimatum to the police department to recover all the valuables of all the crime reporters,” said CRA Vice President Sameer Qureshi as he spoke to The News. He added that the association would announce its future course of action if the police failed to meet their demand.

Qureshi was also not satisfied with the Karachi additional IG’s announcement of forming a special team. “The Karachi police chief has claimed to have constituted a special team for that purpose but still there is no notification issued,” he said.

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