LAHORE: The police authorities in Lahore claim to have come up with a list of nearly 12,000 ‘habitual offenders’ who are behind a significant surge in ‘violent crimes’ in the provincial capital, and proposed amendment to certain laws.
The amended laws, say police, would enable them to deal with these criminals on the pattern of ‘fourth schedulers’. The list has been sent to the Punjab government.
There is already the Section 11EE of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 according to which “the proscribed persons placed on the Fourth Schedule cannot — without the written permission of the officer in charge of the relevant police station — visit schools, colleges and other institutions where persons under 21 years of age or women are taught, trained or housed permanently or temporarily.”
The police have taken the fresh measure after criminals in recent incidents created mayhem in the city by killing and looting citizens, a senior police officer told Dawn. In the wake of these incidents, he said, the police authorities compiled data of 12,000 habitual offenders who are behind most crime incidents in Lahore. He said 6,000 had been traced in 2016 and 5,800 in 2015.
“Many of them have a history of being involved in house and bank robberies, kidnap for ransom etc,” he said. The police, he said, mostly remained clueless about hideouts of the criminals because they frequently move from one place to another.
He said the Lahore police compiled data of ‘hardened thugs’ after the chief minister took note of recent surge in crime in Lahore. The murder of five people by robbers in Millat Park and crime at a Faisal Town traffic signal hit the headlines and annoyed the chief minister who hurriedly called a meeting a few days ago.
He said the police authorities sent a request to the Punjab government through the Home Department demanding amendment to laws to keep a close eye on the ‘movement’ of these criminals. According to the plan, the offenders would be bound to inform the local police station about their movement or next destination before leaving their hometown, he said.
The police officer said the maximum stay of these habitual criminals in the jails is two to three months. “These repeaters secure bails from courts and again commit crimes,” he said.
The Lahore police also pointed out in their proposal some ‘critical flaws’ in three major areas of criminal justice system, prosecution and police investigation, causing ‘safe and early release’ of the hardened and habitual offenders.
Sharing more details about the proposal, the officer said after amendment to the laws, the police would take palm and thumb impressions of every criminal coming out of jail to create a data bank on the pattern of the fourth schedulers.
The police further pointed out that 60pc of these criminals belonged to the adjoining cities/districts such as Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Kasur and Nankana Sahib.
“They visit Lahore to commit crime and return to their home districts to mislead the Lahore police about their locations,” said the officer.
Courtesy : Dawn News