LAHORE – All types of crime, from street-mugging to murder, have been surging in Punjab, exposing the claims of provincial police chief to have reined in criminals.

According to official statistics, 180,340 incidents of crime of all types were reported from February 17, 2011, to July 20, 2012; while 164,592 cases were registered from September 14, 2010, to February 16, 2011.

The estimates show at least 16 murders a day in the province, though the police big guns claim to have deployed energetic and veteran police officers in the most vulnerable districts of Punjab, such as Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Rahim Yar Khan.

The data reveal 45 per cent increase in kidnapping for ransom cases in the Punjab capital where 25 people went missing in the past five months while 14 people were kidnapped for ransom in the first five months of the previous year.

About 3,000 people have been gunned down, slaughtered or killed by their rivals in Punjab during the past six months. Faisalabad topped with more than 470 incidents of murder, followed by Gujranwala with 445 and Lahore with 348. Dera Ghazi Khan remained at the lowest position with 220 murders during this period.

In dacoities, the Sahiwal region topped with more than 400 incidents, followed by Faisalabad with more than 350, and Sheikhupura with 270 incidents.

A total of 2760 robberies were reported with the Punjab capital police and the Faisalabad police registered 1480 case while 1340 incidents were reported in Gujranwala. More than 20 cases of gang rape were reported in Sheikhupura, 17 in Lahore and 16 in Gujranwala.

“Deprivation of legal rights, revengeful mindset and inferiority complex are the major factors that lure people, especially dejected youth into gangs and commit heinous crimes,” Faisalabad City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamiana said.

He added that due to layoff, closure of power looms factories, about one million workers descended into street crimes. He said the nature of crimes in Gujranwala and Faisalabad are the same as the two districts are industrial cities.

He pointed out old enmity had been adding to law and order problems. “More than 40 people from two families fell prey to their rivalry in Wando of Kamoke when I was posted as ASP there,” he said. The CPO said: “Sohanay Bajway is the most dangerous gang of Faisalabad.”

He cited threats to complainants, patronage of Chaudhrys and Sardars and agreement between gangsters and the complainants as the three major reasons for the surge in robberies. To a question, he said lack of training; defective investigation and triviality of police statements in courts also favour the criminals.

Talking about the situation in southern Punjab, Rahim Yar Khan DPO Sohail Zaffar Chatha said: “The Sardari system in Rohjaan and other tribal areas on the bordering belt is the chief reason for crimes.

Due to tribal fights, the killers and victims commonly take refuge on the river tributaries and take revenge on suitable times. He added that police in these areas had no access to such vulnerable areas due to lack of resources.

The CPO of Faisalabad, DPOs of RYK and Sheikhupura say, “We should follow scientific methods to curb crimes and the provision of latest equipment, introduction of moderate and technical education, rehabilitation of criminals and reformation of religious seminaries in the most vulnerable districts, especially the southern Punjab should be ensured.”