Stark Realities…

We had a recent debate on KMB about how the newspapers seem to report a lot of the dismal law and order situtation in the city. Cheif among the discussion was that Dawn metropolitan section reports daily cellphone snatchings in the city. The daily figures dont seem that much, but when added together…. they are astounding!!

Acc. to The News..

During the first half of 2006, more than 28,080 Karachiites were deprived of their cell phones, of which 9,665 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint and 15,737 reported stolen.

Besides 2,278 mobile phones were reported missing, official data mentioned. At least 48,695 Karachiites had been deprived of their cell phones during the past year (July 2005 to June 2006), of which 16,334 were snatched at gunpoint, 27,128 were stolen and 5,233 were reported missing, the data revealed.

In July 2006, 1,232 persons deprived of their mobile phones out of which 484 were snatched, 628 were stolen and 120 were reported missing.

Given the rate of cell phone snatching, it becomes crystal clear that the city police have failed to curb the menace of mobile phone snatching and theft, despite very strict security claimed by them and functioning of a special task force on cell phone snatching and theft.

A special taskforce to check and control the cell phone snatching had been established on the special instructions of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, which he ordered during his Karachi visit in July 2005, but the situation is virtually the same and the task force has failed to o anything worthwhile.

The task force had been assigned to carry out a survey of markets where trading of the snatched or stolen mobile phones was taking place, to collect information in this regard, to investigate the arrested snatchers, sellers, purchasers and middlemen.

The task force was further assigned to coordinate in raids with the help of town police and the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).

However, for reasons best known to the authorities, performance of the specially designated task force on the instructions of the prime minister remained highly unsatisfactory, as this special contingent claimed to have recovered a few hundred mobile phones since its establishment, while the sale and purchase of the item continues within various city markets. Police, despite knowing all about the criminals involved in this crime seem to be reluctant to take action against such elements.

10 Comments so far

  1. SWA (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

    This should be a moment of shame for our police forces. It has been proven that they are completely ineffective. Maybe we should finish the police department once and for all. It doesnt make a difference if they exist or they dont.

  2. Tee Emm (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 9:50 pm

    What else do you get if you have a city of 15 million with an entire generation at its youth with an un-abating desire to live luxuriously yet being miserably uneducated or under-equipped with the right skills due to the ‘vision’ of their saviors now sitting outside Pakistan? A gun (not necessarily working), an out-of-order street light, an unfortunate simpleton citizen, a bit of boldness and these young men can make 5,000 in 5 minutes. If you see it the economics way, this is means of primary earning for a sick lot.

  3. mansoor (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

    Tee Emm: now that is a correct root cause analysis! Even at the educated lot.. just look at the number of ppl involved in CC sales and loan sales at various banks and you’ll see the same hunger for money and luxury! I was once listening to this guy, while having tea at a dhaba.. he was tellin his partner that he makes 10k, has two CC’s with limits of 15k maxed out.. and was now applying for a third! What sort of financial management does that sound like? A failed one if you ask me….

  4. Dee (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

    okay ppl i been following this cell phone snatching for quite a time.I do not understand why on earth somone wants to do it?.I know here in Canada you can have a decent hand set for 50-100 $ and then you pay per month for the usage.Is it not the same in Pak?.What good it will do if someone wants to snatch my 50$ hand set as it will have no resell value?.Please someone explain this situation for us (ppl abroad).On the other hand car theft is on the rise but its not an alarming rate.When i bought my honda civic, i was advised by dealer to get theft insurance(as it was new brand).Reason behind this comparision is to get a logical explanation, cars are way expensive than a cell phone.

  5. mansoor (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

    Dee: we dont have package deals here in Pakistan. We purchase the phone seperately, and the connection seperately. Phones generally hold on to their resale with most incurring only a loss of about 10 to 20 percent of their principal value.. plus many ppl over here like to buy expensive cell phones…

    all this translates into about Rs. 2k to 16k per phone which is stolen (for resale). Thats seems a pretty good amount for (unemployed, underemployed) ppl for very minimum risk…..

    and its not only a problem in karachi or pakistan, but is happening all over the globe… another blogger, ayesha, posted about her experience in brazil (while on vacation) when one of her group got shot in the leg when he refused to hand over his cellphone…

  6. Mubashir (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 12:29 am

    In my opinion problem is those SIM cards that can work in any phone. If we switch our phons to CDMA it will go away cause than phones have to be authorized on the network and if you report them stolen phone network system operators can permanently block those phones and they will be useless afterwards.

  7. kidal (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 1:19 am

    SWA, I know that the police is incompetent and corrupt. But there is really not much they can do to prevent snatch thieves or to recover the phones.

    There are well established and well connected syndicates behind this. Most thieves are actually just working for somoene else and dont get to keep the phones. This is as much a problem of corrupt politicians as it is of corrupt law enforcement officials.

    Come to think of it, the figures that we have would not be available if it were not for the existence of the police. At least there is someone to report a theft to.

  8. wasiq (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 3:36 am

    has anybody seen the movie **THE RECRUIT**..?

  9. Sheysrebellion (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 6:54 am

    We shouldn’t blame the police; they’re under-funded and under staffed.

    Karachites are buying stolen cell phones, and we should only blame ourselves. I know several people who after having had their cell phones stolen, purchased stolen cell phones themselves, there’s a market for stolen cell phones that we have created.

    As long as people purchase stolen cell phones, the cell phone snatchings will continue, likely only worsen.

    P.S. GSM > CDMA

  10. K.A. (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

    Are these figures correct..I mean what source are they from. How many people report their cell phones least several I know who had theirs stolen or snatched didn’t go to any authorities. I am sure most dont file a report on a snatched cell phone. I wonder if Dawn is using the ‘law of averages’ to get some figures.

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