Hall Road traders protest against a rash of robberies


LAHORE – Traders of Hall Road and adjacent markets blocked the Mall Road on Thursday and demanded the Punjab government take action against increasing robberies in the area and accused police officials of not taking action and patronising robbers.
Traders from the Zaitoon Plaza, Rafi Plaza and other markets blocked the road at the Regal Chowk and chanted slogans against police for deliberately not taking action against robbers and swindlers. Traders said that for the last five months, a group of swindlers is operating in the area and is carrying out robberies but police is doing nothing.
They demanded police high-ups to transfer the Qila Gujjar Singh Police station house officer, as he is not serious in taking action against robbers. Qaumi Tajir Ittehad President Babar Khan, Anjuman Tajiran Electronics Media Secretary Tariq Mehmood and other traders led the protest and blocked the Mall Road for more than an hour. The blockade caused traffic problems for commuters, who used alternate routes for reaching their destinations.
Qila Gujjar Singh Police officials reached the spot and tried to cool down the traders but they refused to listen. Traders alleged that robbers attacked Babar Khan’s shop and they informed police about the incident but police did not do anything. “The area police is siding with the robbers and not paying heed to cries and appeals of traders and it prompted us to come on roads,” Anjuman Tajiran Electronics Hall Road and Link Macleod Road General Secretary Amin Mazhar Butt told Pakistan Today.
He alleged that SHO and beat officer of Hall Road area are not serious in taking action against robbers. Mazhar said traders tried their best to cooperate with police but of no avail. “If police had taken action against robbers then the situation would not have been alarming,” he said adding that traders have even nominated people involved in robberies but police are not taking action.
“Zubair Khan, Qasim and Humayun are the main culprits and we have given these names to police around two months ago but police instead of arresting is protecting them,” Mazhar said adding that Civil Lines Superintendent of Police (SP) Umar Saeed came to negotiate with traders. “We have presented our demands to the SP and he assured us that the matter will be resolved,” he added.
Mazhar said that earlier the gang used to swindle people by selling dummy copies of cellular phones. “At that time police remained silent despite our complaints,” he said adding that afterwards the gang became strong with help of police and is now threatening traders by attacking their shops and robbing innocent people in broad daylight.
On October 2010, Pakistan Today in its news story, had identified increasing crime incidents at the Hall Road and highlighted a gang, which is depriving people of their cellular phones but police remained silent and took no action against the robbers.