70 per cent increase in proclaimed offenders, court absconders in Pak Punjab during 2010

Lahore, Jan 17(ANI): Pakistan's Punjab province witnessed a 70 per cent increase in the number of proclaimed offenders (POs) and court absconders (CAs) in 2010.

In what may be seen as Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's failure to curb crime in the province, the official statistics of the Punjab police reveal a 20 per cent growth in POs and a 50 per cent surge in CAs, The Nation reported.

The analysis of the official data shows that the bigwigs of the provincial police are losing their grip over the force, as the police have been unsuccessful in nabbing POs or CAs during the last year, the report added.

The upward trend of crime in all categories could not be curbed, as over one lakh accused were announced as POs and added to the rest of the proclaimed offenders, reaching a total of over 1,62,993.

Although the Punjab police claimed to have arrested over 90,000 proclaimed offenders, according to the closing balance, over 70,000 POs are still at large. About 590 POs were struck off from their cases or were gunned down in staged police encounters, which took place in different parts of the Punjab, the report said.

Also, courts announced over 60,000 accused as absconders- including dozens of police officers across the country. Adding the closing balance 28,614 of 2009, the total figure of CAs crossed over 88,000 in 2010.

Although the police managed to hunt over 45,000 CAs, and about 190 were struck off from the total figure, the data shows that over 43,000 CAs are still roaming free.

An alarming situation was also observed regarding illegal sophisticated weapons, which were recovered from gangsters during search operations launched in different districts of the province.

According to the official documents, the Punjab police recovered 170 hand grenades, 780 Kalashnikovs, over 3,800 rifles, 5,980 guns, over 33,000 revolvers/pistols, 3,930 carbines and 2,410 sharp-edged weapons from the possession of the accused during the aforementioned search operations.

During 2010, as many as 48,662 cases were registered against criminals under the Arms Ordinance of Police Order 2002, while the provincial police also claimed to have arrested over 47,744 accused under the ordinance. (ANI)

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