According to CPLC (Citizens-Police Liaison Committee), the number of mobile phones that were reportedly snatched or stolen in Karachi in 2016 was 34,137. CPLC has joined forces with the mobile markets’ association and police to address this most-common-street crime.
Any shopkeeper selling used mobile phones is required to fill a pro forma issued by the CPLC, before buying used phones from sellers. This includes complete details of the seller’s name, father’s name, address, CNIC number and the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the mobile device.
Speaking to the Express Tribune, “Before buying a used mobile phone from a customer, you [shopkeeper] must verify it from the CPLC helpline 1102 or call 35682222 to verify the phone’s status – snatched, stolen or cleared,” reads a copy of the CPLC pro forma obtained by The Express Tribune. “It is also compulsory for all shopkeepers to get a photocopy of a customer’s CNIC before buying a used mobile phone.”
It further reads that the shopkeeper will be responsible if he does not follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) and the phone is found to be stolen or snatched, adding that the shopkeeper will have to face Section 411 of the Pakistan Penal Code. He will also have to pay the actual cost of the phone to buyers if he sells any snatched or stolen mobile phone to them.
It is also necessary to get a contact number of the seller before buying any used mobile phone from him. Also, the shopkeeper is responsible to seize any mobile phone and inform the CPLC, Special Investigation Unit of the Karachi police, and the market’s association if it is found to have a criminal record in the CPLC database. The shopkeeper will have to maintain the record of all sold and purchased mobile phones.
CPLC chief Zubair Habib told The Express Tribune,
“It is a part of the apex committee meeting’s decisions to control street crimes, particularly the snatching and theft of mobile phones. By doing this, we would be able to control the sale and purchase of snatched or stolen mobile phones. We will have to control such mobile phones’ sale and purchase from Karachi to any other part of the country because such phones are usually sold and purchased from Karachi.”
CPLC officials will also remain in touch with the markets’ associations and shopkeepers for check and balance, said Habib. “We are not saying that by doing this we will be able to eliminate the sale and purchase of snatched and/or stolen mobile phones completely, but we will be able to control it as much as possible,” he said. “It will definitely build pressure on the shopkeepers.”
There are over 100 small and big mobile markets in the city with nearly 15,000 shops where thousands of used mobile phones are sold and purchased on a daily basis. The CPLC and the police have taken the mobile markets’ associations on board in the decision. “We are with the CPLC and police in their efforts to control such criminal activities as no one in Karachi is safe from such crimes,” said the president of Karachi Electronics Dealers Associations, Muhammad Rizwan. “It is also our responsibility to force the shopkeepers to follow the SOP.” He added that the markets’ associations will also send their men with used mobile phones to check if the shopkeepers follow the SOP or not.
According to CPLC data, 21,198 mobile phones were snatched while 20,442 were stolen in 2015. In 2016, a total of 34,137 mobile phones were either snatched or stolen across the city. “Until and unless the demand of such mobile phones does not end, this business will continue,” said District South SSP Saqib Ismail Memon. “By stopping the demand, we would be able to stop the supply of such mobile phones.”
Meanwhile, CPLC has also issued its monthly report on street crime in Karachi. According to the CPLC report, the citizens of Karachi have been deprived of 1,181 mobile phones in snatching, 1,441 mobile phones in theft, 20 four-wheelers in snatching, 123 four-wheelers if theft and 1,727 two-wheelers in theft. One case of kidnapping, seven cases of extortion, 31 killings, and one case of bank robbery were also reported.
Below are the guidelines that must be followed by the dealers:-
1- The shopkeeper will verify that the device is not stolen or snatched by contacting CPLC helpline 1102.
2- The shopkeeper will be booked under Section 411 of the Pakistan Penal Code if he is found selling a stolen or snatched phone. Apart from being penalized, he will have to reimburse the money to the purchaser.
3- Shopkeepers will demand photostat of the national identity cards of citizens before purchasing used mobile phones.
4- The shopkeeper will obtain a verified mobile phone number of the person who is selling his used device.
5- Shopkeepers will seize a mobile phone if it is found stolen or snatched and inform the CPLC, SIU, and the Market Association.
6- Shopkeepers will not indulge in the illegal acts of unblocking a mobile phone that has been blocked by authorities.
7- Shopkeepers will maintain a record of all the mobile phones that he sells or purchases.