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Lahore infested with land grab, other crimes

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 20th November, 2022 06:14:22 PM
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LAHORE (PAKISTAN): The sprawling provincial capital seems to be a safe haven for criminals, especially land grabbers, who get away with their activities in most cases.

The land grabbers have allegedly taken advantage of the mushroom growth of housing societies in a decade or so, depriving people of their valuable properties. According to an estimate, the rise in the number of housing societies and massive business activities have added nearly 30 per cent crime to the city.

It is believed that the land grab has given birth to ‘criminal markets/pockets’, increasing insecurity, anxiety and fear among the citizens. Reports say the land mafia “enjoys the blessings of police and revenue staff” and illegally occupies the properties of the landowners, especially in the surroundings of Ferozepur Road, Raiwind and on Multan Road where the business of the housing societies/projects is flourishing.

It is learnt that police officers of these areas spend most of the time dealing with ‘disputed property matters’ at the cost of controlling street crime.

Allegation of revenue staff, police connivance

A source said the “dubious role of a senior police officer in dealing with land mafia is the talk of the town.” There were complaints, he said, that the land grabbers dispossessed the owners of their valuable properties under the nose of the police officer.

The source said the issue landed at the Central Police Office (CPO) and the IGP received complaints and he took up the matter with the chief minister for action against the officer. The Punjab government and the agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau and the Special Branch were largely playing the role of silent spectator, said the source.

He said PTI chairman Imran Khan had raised this issue once as prime minister in July 2021. Addressing the groundbreaking of various development projects in Islamabad, he said his government was introducing legislation to target the land grabbers across the country. The law, he said, was meant for mitigating the sufferings of the land grab victims.

The land grabbers are on the rampage in Lahore as they easily obtain forged documents with the connivance of the mafias working for the housing societies to acquire land for housing projects either on lower rates or by force. Side by side, the source said, surge in street crime and Karachi-like incidents had frustrated citizens.

A recent CCTV footage went viral on social media, showing two criminals snatching the purse of a woman when she was helping an elderly woman on a wheelchair in Iqbal Town area. As the motorcyclists snatched the bag, the woman fell on the road and suffered injuries on her arms and face while the suspected robbers fled with looted items.

Many other footages emerged in the recent past. In the last week, the source said, 655 incidents of crime were reported in various parts of Lahore. He said 44 of these incidents were related to dacoities, robberies, snatching of motorbikes, mobile phones etc.

A few days back, four armed men stormed a jewellery shop at Soha Bazaar and plundered 15 tola gold ornaments and other valuables. In yet another incident, armed men robbed citizen Junaid of Rs900,000 when he was coming out of a bank in Nawab Town area.

The official data of the police department show the rate of robberies and other heinous crimes has risen by more than 150pc in Lahore. It said the Saddar division had the highest number of incidents -- 2,499 robberies, 67 sodomy and 49 child rape cases were reported from January to September this year.

In all, the data show, the Lahore city reported 165,524 incidents of crime during the same period. Criminals drove away with 76 cars and 958 motorbikes while 1,894 cars and 19,308 motorbikes were stolen from the city during the first nine months of 2022.

Source: Dawn