Karachi business leaders demand action on crime surge

In Business
April 02, 2024



KARACHI:

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), along with industrialists and traders, has appealed to the Army Chief, Sindh Chief Minister, and Inspector General of Police (IGP) to address the alarming rise in street crimes in Karachi and highway robberies throughout Sindh ahead of Eidul Fitr.

They called for a decisive crackdown against gangs of thugs and robbers.

Expressing grave concerns about the shockingly high levels of criminal activity, which include increasing street crimes, killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortions, armed robberies, thefts, highway robberies, and others in Karachi and the rest of Sindh, they stressed the government’s responsibility to rid citizens of crimes and ensure their safety and security.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Atiq Mir, Chairman of the All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI), highlighted the prevalence of heinous street crimes, kidnappings for ransom, extortions, and targeted killings in the economic hub of the country from 2008 to 2012. He noted that a joint operation by the police and Rangers from 2013 to 2015 successfully subdued criminals and gangsters.

As the economic hub and largest taxpayer city of the country, Karachi suffers from runaway street crimes that disrupt business deals, transactions, and investments in the port city. This poor law and order situation agonises the entire business community.

Read IG Sindh rolls out strategies to combat crime across province

“I appeal to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir to play his role in eliminating street crimes forthwith. Otherwise, Karachi might revert to the dire situation prior to 2013, when both investors and investments fled the country. Both criminals and police are politicised and patronised in Karachi, making them two sides of the same coin. This is why the police are unable to eradicate crimes. I suggest that both the police and Rangers jointly conduct the sternest crackdown against street criminals and highwaymen,” he said.

KCCI Acting President Altaf A Ghaffar stated in a Monday statement that groups of bandits must be busted and disbanded in Sindh, where the ‘bandit reign’ has reached its peak. He appealed to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Inspector General Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon to initiate a strict operation against these bandits responsible for disrupting peace and security province-wide. He called for a grand operation by the law enforcement agencies of both Sindh and Punjab to cleanse the Katcha areas of Sindh, which serve as safe havens for outlaws.

“Bandits have committed heinous crimes on all highways, including the M-9 motorway, national and Indus highways, and many other main thoroughfares. Within just two months, dozens of businessmen and truck drivers have been abducted from the highways connecting Sindh with Punjab. Most of them were either set free after ransom payments or in exchange for goods in transit,” he said.

He noted an abnormal surge in criminal activities as bandits position themselves to intercept and loot private vehicles, buses, oil tankers, trailers, and trucks loaded with locally-manufactured and imported goods destined for the upcountry on highways. Due to the escalating lawlessness in Sindh, truckers either refuse to transport shipments to the upcountry or demand excessively high charges. They impose conditions to travel only during daylight hours on Sindh highways, resulting in delayed deliveries and losses for Karachi-based businessmen, industrialists, and traders seeking assistance from the KCCI, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2024.

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