LAHORE - Fearing business breakdown, most of the hotels, guesthouses, and property dealers are unwilling to pass on to the police the required particulars about their tenants, which is hindering the process of data collection in the wake of the National Action Plan.

The real estate agents and hotel managers state that the police are yet to establish proper data collection desks at the police stations for this purpose. They also blame the police attitude and lack of coordination between the police and the guesthouses management in the implementation of National Action Plan.

Police sources state that the process to implement the Punjab Information and Temporary Residents Ordinance 2015 is going on but slowly.

According to the Ordinance, administration of hotels and guesthouses is bound to provide information about the renters to the local police within three hours. Similarly, it is made compulsory for the real estate agents to submit the information about the tenants to the police within 48 hours after the house is rented out.

“The police are ordered to register criminal cases against the violators. The police are maintaining the record of temporary residents in each police station,” a senior officer of the Lahore police said on Thursday. He also admitted that the police are yet to collect data from each and every rented house or guesthouse.

It was also learnt that many of the policemen are doing paperwork as far as the data collection of temporary residents is concerned. Requesting anonymity, a police official said that the guesthouses which are paying ‘monthly’ to the local police are doing just paperwork.

“Many guesthouses are covertly operating in the posh areas where no record is maintained. Some hotel managers are well-connected and they bribe the local police,” the official said. According to him, most of the hotels and guesthouses are not providing 100 per cent information to the police about their customers.

Thirty-five-year-old Ahmed, who is manager at a multi-storey hotel in Lahore’s Johar Town neighbourhood, state that the customers would avoid staying in the guesthouses if they started providing their particulars to the police.

“We prefer to take the SHO ‘on board’ to keep our business as usual. It is not workable (to pass on information to the police about the customers),” he said. “It is also a security risk.”

Last week, a hotel manager was shot dead by drunk customers when he refused to rent out a room without getting identity papers in Civil Lines police precincts.

Muhammad Zahid, the manager at Palace Hotel, was shot dead by drunk clients on January 20. He had asked the customers to produce CNIC, a prerequisite for the customers, but they started quarrelling with him.

Later, one of them took out a pistol and opened straight fire on Zahid. Before the police reached the spot, the gunmen had fled the crime scene. The police are yet to arrest the killers.

Police sources state that it is really very difficult to collect the data of all the residents staying in hotels, guesthouses or residential societies in Lahore. They believe it is time taking exercise but a doable job.

A guesthouse manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the hotel business is declining in the provincial metropolis since the police are conducting security sweeps. “Many of the customers stay in hotels here for fun and entertainment. They demand items like liquor and call-girls. Nobody can continue the taboo business without police backing,” the manager argues.

He further said that the hotel business would come to a halt if the managers started sharing data with the police. “The police are part of the problem. The cops blackmail the clients and harass the managers in the name of security search,” says an employee of a hotel located in Nolakha.

A Lahore police spokesperson said that dozens of cases had been registered against the hotels management, real estate agents, and house owners for violating the Punjab Information and Temporary Residents Ordinance 2015.

Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera said that the police would leave no stone unturned to ensure the implementation of the National Action Plan designed by the Federal government following the Peshawar school brutality.

As a part of the National Action Plan, the government has also been working to stop printing and publication of hate material promoting sectarianism.

According to spokesperson of the Punjab police, due to the strict action by the police and other law enforcement agencies and promulgation of five amended ordinances, the crime rate has reduced more than 45 per cent across the province.

Similarly, the police also registered 55 cases against the management of guesthouses and hotels on the violation of the Punjab Information and Temporary Residents Ordinance 2015. The Punjab government has also announced strict punishment for the violators of the amended Punjab Information and Temporary Residents Ordinance.