– 228 cars, 849 motorbikes being added to city’s traffic on daily basis: Rao Arif
KARACHI: SSP Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell (AVLC) Rao Muhammad Arif Aslam has stressed that the relevant laws, punishments and fines for vehicles’ theft or snatching need to be made more stringent as statistics indicate that 66 percent of the culprits have been acquitted while the remaining 34 percent were convicted by the honorable courts.“Almost all the acquitted get back on the streets of Karachi to resume their criminal activities while the convicted ones also do the same after completing a very minor sentence or paying petty fines hence, this important issue needs to be addressed on priority by thoroughly reviewing the relevant laws”, he added while quoting an example of a particular criminal who immediately stole a bike from outside court premises soon after he was acquitted in a vehicle theft case.Delivering a presentation to raise awareness on how to handle the situation in case of vehicle theft/ snatching, how to minimize the chances of theft, who to be approached and also the relevant laws, SSP AVLC said, it was a matter of grave concern that the culprits, who deprive the public from their vehicles, particularly motorbikes being used mostly for earning bread and butter, are fined with a mere amount of just Rs500/- to Rs5,000 which was too low and needs to raised.General Secretary Businessmen Group AQ Khalil, Senior Vice President KCCI Saqib Goodluck, Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan, Chairman KCCI’s Law & Order Subcommittee Junaid ur Rehman, KCCI Managing Committee Members and a large number of small traders attended the meeting.SSP AVLC was of the opinion that as it was the business community which runs the economy and contributes substantial amount of revenue to the national exchequer in shape of taxes which are also utilized on paying salaries to policemen, hence the businessmen and industrialists deserve special attention of law enforcement agencies.He said that it was a challenging task to curtail vehicle theft in a city like Karachi but AVLC was trying its best to improve the situation and was strictly dealing with culprits by initiating crackdowns from time to time in numerous areas to destroy their networks. “By the end of 2020, around 2.1 million cars while more than 3.5 million motorbikes have also been registered in Karachi but this number will be much higher when bikes registered in other cities are also added as a large number of bikes from other cities are also plying in the city. Around 228 cars and 849 motorbikes are being added to city’s traffic on daily basis”, he added.He further informed that AVLC was also in the process of creating database carrying complete details of registered vehicles and their statuses for a smartphone app which will be made available to police officials so that they could efficiently and promptly deal with vehicle theft issue. “We will soon be launching this app and also look into the possibility of giving its access to KCCI’s representative as Karachi Chamber has been frequently receiving vehicle-theft complaints from its members”, he added.In response to a question, he said that it was mandatory for the owners of vehicles to seek No Objection Certificate (NOC) from AVLC in case the vehicle was being transported outside the province. In this regard, a very good and foolproof system has been successfully implemented at AVLC facility at Sharifabad where the owners of vehicles can get the NOC free of cost. “Earlier, this NOC was being provided to applicants at nominal charges of Rs500 but now it is free for all”, he added.He also agreed to create a strong liaison between AVLC and KCCI so that the business community’s vehicle-theft problems could be instantly responded. In this regard, he provided a focal person along with his contact details to KCCI and also sought a nomination of KCCI’s representative so that AVLC-KCCI liaison could be further strengthened.Speaking on the occasion, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil stressed that AVLC must maintain close liaison with KCCI which, being the premier and largest Chamber of the country, represents the entire business and industrial community of Karachi from small traders to leading industrialists.He was of the view that vehicle theft/ snatching and other street crimes continue to rise all over the city because of the fact that majority of police force and rangers usually remain deployed in providing security and arranging protocols for VIPs, which puts lives and properties of the masses at stake. “The very fabric of entire society has been ruined due to dominancy, authority and weaponry which were grossly being misused to suppress the poor masses”, he added. Earlier, Senior Vice President KCCI Saqib Goodluck, while welcoming SSP AVLC, pointed out that 1764 vehicles were stolen in 2020 from Karachi which clearly indicates that at least 5 vehicles were either being stolen or snatched on daily basis. It was a worrisome figure that needs to be brought down by taking strict measures and adopting latest technologies, particularly installation of more CCTV cameras at sensitive localities.