The matter was brought to notice by journalist, Adeel Ahsan. Ever since he tweeted “Join me to wake up Sindh Government, IG Sindh, and Karachi Police Chief and retweet as much as possible”. This has been causing quite the storm on Twitter as people are with their retweets are trying to bring this into the Sindh Police’s knowledge.
یہاں سے بچ بھی جائیں تو وہاں ضرور حساب لیا جائے گا اور وہاں نا انصافی نہیں کی جائے گی۔۔!!
اللہ تعالیٰ بخشش کرے آمین۔۔۔!!
— Hamd Shahid (@hamdshahid12) July 19, 2021
We see so many news reports of Qabza groups and illegal occupation over the years but not once the root causes of such crimes are highlighted. All of these crimes happen due to weak laws. In Pakistan, the law states that anyone occupying a piece of land surrounded by at least a wall cannot be evicted. This law provides the opportunity for people to occupy land illegally or by force.
The Qabza group first enters the house with weapons and pushes every occupant into a room, where they are held hostage. Then all the items in the rest of the property are taken away to ensure no proof of legal occupants remains.
The Qabza group brings in its own furniture and fixtures into the captured property. Then arrive the new ‘occupants’ mostly accompanied by women and children, who occupy the property and claim they have been living there for ages. The local police are bribed.
Once the Qabza group has settled in, they release the held occupants. When the police finally arrive they find two families living in the house and the case lands in court, where it lags on for years. During this time the Qabza group threatens and sometimes kills the legal occupants, and takes over the property completely. There is an urgent need for laws that check such criminal acts.
Until new regulations specifically targeting the Qabza mafia are established, we will continue to hear news of people’s homes being occupied by such criminals.
Over the past few decades, Karachi has witnessed violence, including targeted killings, political, ethnic, and sectarian violence as well as acts of terrorism. While thankfully levels of violence have come down, street crime remains a major headache for the city’s people. Criminals appear to strike at will, from people drawing cash from banks or ATMs; threatening people trapped in traffic jams, and shooting citizens over resistance to mugging attempts.
On Monday alone, four people were killed while resisting muggers in the metropolis. The rapid increase of armed mugging in the city has led people not to risk their lives and hand over their cash and mobiles/valuables to criminals.
Moreover, concerns have been raised in the Sindh Assembly about the resurgence of armed gangs and the sale of narcotics in the Lyari area. MMA lawmaker Abdul Rasheed, who represents the area, told the house that police were doing little to restrain crime in Lyari.
However, a solid strategy is needed to check the increase in street crime in Karachi. The city’s new police chief Imran Yaqoob Minhas, who took office last month, told the media that battling street crime was his top priority. These intentions need to be translated into action on the ground. Patrolling should be increased while cameras should monitor points where muggers are known to strike.
Read more: Resurrection of political mafia
The police need to counter street crime aggressively as too many precious lives have been lost in the hands of criminals. As for Lyari, the state needs to ensure one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods does not become a hotspot for criminal gangs to emerge once again. There must be a zero-tolerance policy for gang activity and the sale of drugs in the area.
Furthermore, the state needs to offer alternatives to area’s youths so that they do not turn to crime. Along with better law enforcement, educational, sports and economic activities must be promoted in Lyari to ensure the area’s people have avenues for upward mobility.