Dear CCPO Karachi,
Greatly appreciate your newspaper initiative of asking citizens to report crime and send pictures of suspicious looking persons and activities. (firstname.lastname@example.org and mms 0333-222-8080). It would provide citizens a good opportunity and a good feeling to be a part of the crime fighting process of the Sindh Police.
You will appreciate that it is more difficult to detect a suspicious looking person as compared to a suspicious looking vehicle. While the former requires some understanding of psychology and human behaviour, the later is a comparatively simple affair, based on an individual’s ability to recognise if the moving object on the road is in fact a vehicle and if it is carrying or not, a registered number plate.
Just to give you an example, I find most politicians very suspicious looking. That is however not a good reason for me to report against them. However each time I leave my house, I easily recognise a large number of vehicles which have either no number plate or an illegal number plate such as “Zinda Hey BB“, ‘Laghari1‘, “Durrani 2“, ‘lashari 3“, “Bhutto 4“, “Junagarh 5“, “MNA“, “MPA“, “Chief of jhalayan tribe“, etc etc. In one interesting case some half a dozen vehicles owned by the same individual carry the same number plate “VII”. Most of these vehicles belong to ministers, parliamentarians and other powerful law breakers of the land. This blatant breach of law is visible to all those hundreds of policemen, who remain dutifully engaged in stopping the two wheelers for extracting their pound of flesh, but whose eyes are carefully trained not to recognise the violating vehicles of the powerful and unlawful urban militants.
I am enclosing some pictures taken at random in the past few weeks just to give you a feel of the size of the problem. You will also appreciate that most big crime is conducted by big people in big vehicles. So the trick is to go after the big.
I would suggest that you put repeated ‘ads’ in the newspapers, describing what are the key violations being made by the vehicles of the powerful elite. ( No number plate, unlawful number plate, any sign such as MPA, that hides the original number plate, armed guards, black tinted glasses etc). Intensive training should then be organised for police force in vehicular recognition, the design, types and need for number plates, what is an illegal number plate, and how to stop, challan and if required confiscate such vehicles. On a lighter note, a half decent title, and a suitable packaging such as “Access to Road Justice”, would easily qualify the project for a handsome ADB loan.
If only the police were to enforce this very basic and visible violation of law, its respect would go up many times in the eyes of the public, which may then develop some trust in reporting the events that are actually not visible to the police.