Car Theft Incidents Across Pakistan Have Reached An Alarming Level, Government Yet To Intervene

cartheft

A couple of months ago, my car vanished from one of the busy main roads here in Karachi. I tried locating it but didn’t find a clue. Tired and exhausted, I went to the nearest police station to file a first incident report and got the incident reported to what is called ‘Kachi FIR.’ When I asked the in-charge there for a proper FIR, he replied in his usual imperious way, “Bhai you don’t need to worry. You will get your car by tomorrow.” I was surprised and asked him how can he be so sure? He fixed his official police cap and replied that they get reports of stolen cars every day, and those cars are usually recovered very next day but mostly without its parts like CNG kit, car battery, tires and rims, and interior components, etc. This was not only a surprise for me but also a cause of concern. I inquired a little bit more about this issue to which the police official at the station agreed that there are cars that have been stolen without a proof, and they haven’t been recovered for ages. Even their owners have gotten tired of visiting the station over and over again and have lost all hope of recovering their vehicle.

The automobile industry in Pakistan is flourishing quite rapidly. Locally operational carmakers are hardly being able to meet the demands of the public. Indus Motors, the makers of Toyota cars in Pakistan, are working in three 8-hour shifts in 24 hours daily to meet the demands of their ever popular Toyota Corolla. On the other hand, Punjab Taxi Scheme has boosted the production of Pak Suzuki vehicles as well. Their vehicles like Mehran, Bolan, and Ravi, are being sold in large numbers nowadays. Leave locally produced cars at a side, even the influx of imported vehicles has increased. The number of imported cars in FY2015 has doubled compared to the number of FY2014. In the first four months of FY2014 (July to August) 7,981 units were imported. In the same four months of FY2015, 14,106 units were imported. Motorcycles are a hot commodity nowadays as well. Atlas Honda is investing millions of US dollars to increase the production of their bikes in Pakistan. Their aim is to take the total production to up to 1.3 million units annually.

Also Read: Atlas Honda To Invest USD $100 To Increase The Production

The healthy car industry in Pakistan is a great news. It is not just about cars being made or imported in large numbers, but it indicates towards the healthy economic activity as well. But the sad news about all this is that with the increase in car production, the activities of car and motorcycle theft has increased in the country as well. As in other developing countries around the world, the black market activities in Pakistan are also rotating the wheel and the car industry is no exception. This is seriously damaging our local auto industry. To make sure everything is kept under the law’s watchful eye, the current government should make sure they add strict rules and instructions regarding this matter as well. Not only should the new policy dictate the current carmakers to provide modern and globally acceptable car safety and theft preventing measures but should also focus on the current laws on improving the performance of the law enforcing departments.

Around eleven thousand cars of worth around PKR 2 billion were being stolen few years ago but according to a new report, the numbers have gone through the roof. According to the new report, around 21 thousand vehicles are being stolen yearly, and the total worth of stolen cars comes up to something around staggering PKR 5 billion. According to another report, Toyota and Suzuki top the list of most stolen cars in Pakistan. From the looks of it, one can argue that these cars are most stolen because their cars are most popular among Pakistanis but I believe the main reason is the limited and inefficient security systems and measures implemented in these cars by their respective companies. Vehicles that are the hot favorite of thieves include cars like:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Suzuki Mehran
  • Suzuki Alto
  • Suzuki Cultus
  • Daihatsu Coure

As far motorcycles are concerned, Honda CG125 is the most stolen motorbike. It is also the most snatched bike as well.

Stolen cars and motorcycles usually end up being sold as dirt cheap to those who deal in stolen cars. Or they are dismantled, and their parts end up in the scrap markets around the country. Those who buy these stolen cars also have few ways to bring the car in use. If they think they can get away with selling the car to someone else in some other city of the country, they will try to do so. Or they hide the vehicle for few months until the unfortunate owner has also forgotten about his stolen pride and joy, and then they come up with bogus papers and change the engine and chassis number of the car accordingly. After that, the car is again put on for sale, mostly in another city. Or the car ends up being used as a getaway vehicle in extreme illegal activities such as abduction, robbery, target killing, smuggling and even in some cases, terrorism. The fact that police stations don’t actively write proper FIRs for such cars, they don’t come in the police system and database and evade the hands of the law. And even if it does get caught, it gets free once again due to the magic of bribery.

Asad Aslam

A PakWheeler with a degree in mass communication. He tweets as @masadaslam

  • ysk

    Since most stolen Toyotas end up in KPK, I was hoping that NAYE POLICE will have an impact on reducing it. Looks like they are busy on Facebook

  • Guest

    The writer chose not to write that many stolen cars are taken across the border to other countries (the gangs are powerful enough to commit transnational crime and the neighboring governments are either weak or uninterested to mitigate Pakistan’s problem) or in allied areas like FATA, PATA and AJK. In these places these cars are running as NCP, whereas there is distinction between definition of stolen car and definition of NCP car.

    Many of the stolen/snatched cars are used as-is in many areas of Pakistan where there is no writ of government. The users do not even care to remove company logo from the doors/bonnet or number plate from the vehicle or alter its appearance at all, because they know nobody can recover the vehicle from them. Many cars snatched from Karachi and Hyderabad end up in parts of Balochistan. People have seen their own (stolen/snatched) cars again and again in towns of Balochistan without any changes to the appearance because the criminals know there is less writ of government there and nobody fears the police. Rather they see stealing and snatching as their “right” because they have not been given “huqooq” for the past few centuries.

  • Thank you and keep these good comments coming 🙂

  • imran

    i think, the writer isn’t aware of the new trend, now the thieves will take the stolen car to areas like FATA & make you a phone call to pay (whatever) money — You can go to that respective area, pay the money & bring back your car.

  • Ahmar

    My friend’s alto was recently stolen from lahore old city. On getting FIR and a chat with a lower rank police guy at the nearest police station, the police guy mentioned that around 400-500 cars are stolen from lahore everyday and all of them end up in some underground car parkings and mostly at the underground car parking of Data darbar. According to him high rank people (the police guy said even CM knows which I doubt) all know about Data darbar car parking and no one is allowed to get into that to check for stolen cars. The gang then calls the owner to make some deal (my friend got his alto back in 180k). If the deal don’t succeed that car is dismantle and goes to bilal ganj which is adjacent to it.

    I think there should be some rules and checks on places like bilal ganj also so that such things can be stopped or reduced to some extent. No doubt we can get cheap parts from bilal ganj but the part we buy there might be someone’s stolen car’s part 🙁

  • pradotlc

    The strange thing i have noticed here is people dont get insurance… i got mine done from an international co. here for 3% which was pretty good. I have had 2 minor accidents and they covered it with no issue. If you have money for a 2M rupee car I cant believe you dont have money for insurance…

  • wasted youth

    Some morons just utter their empty minds without any knowledge. FATA is not under KPK Govt, it is rather under your beloved Ganja Federal Govt.. Secondly, the policing is not that simple which you just think… Car stolen in Punjab must be investigated and reported by Punjab Poo-lice and after indicating the criminals, Punjab Poo-lice then coordinate and share info to other provincial police to capture the criminals… If Punjab Poo-lice can’t coordinate and share info then who the hell will know that a certain car is stolen or not. Police will only stop you if you are violating the traffic rules or for some usual snap checking… And above all, how the car even cross out from Punjab to KPK when Punjab Poo-lice is so alert. But this is not the case, cars stolen in Punjab, immediately reaches places like Bilal Ganj to be stripped and sold in parts.

  • Guest

    Hi pradotlc,

    It is not about the money. There are various caveats with insurance:

    1. Most companies would not insure a car more than 5 years old. Since third-party insurance is compulsory as per law, people go for third-party insurance from companies like Asian Mutual. (Note: third-party insurance only covers if the insured party’s car causes damage to a third-party, it is not a comprehensive insurance. Therefore it does not cover stealing).

    2. Insurance is a very tightly bound contract. Suppose you gave your car to your brother’s wife to pick kids from school. There the car was snatched. Now the insurance company would convert it into a case of sublet, and not give you the money. It is pretty much known that insurance companies would never give you the money on one pretext or other. Therefore people avoid the insurance because insurance is supposed to be for peace of mind, not for additional headache.

    3. Most people consider insurance to be haram. Admittedly there are takaful companies which promise to be more islamic than others but few people believe in them. Others think it is just interest with a fancy name. In addition, it is very difficult to do business with takaful insurance (or even islamic banking) because in many situations they have far stricter requirements than conventional financial institutions.

    4. Many people lack the education to understand the fine details of insurance speak.

    5. As a national culture, we prefer to avoid as much documentation as possible. People keep driving on “Applied for” number plate and few if ever submit M.V tax. If the car/phone/jewellery/cash gets stolen few people want to go through an additional hassle of paperwork such FIR etc. Yet you are talking of something far more complex.

    6. Minor accidents are non-issues. With stealing/snatching etc. comes a lot of headache comes with it because insurance company requires legal procedure before giving you the claim. The number of times you have to go through police station, CPLC, court, etc. and the amount of money you have to give them as palm-greasing is insane.

  • Guest again

    PW blog conducted a poll a few months ago about how many people have a valid driving license.

    Idea: Further surveys can be conducted how many keep their token, insurance, fitness certificate etc. up to date.
    Some people say that token is haram since in an islamic republic only zakat should be paid.
    Some people say they are not happy with what the government is providing to them, therefore they feel it is ethically correct to not pay the token.
    Some say they get even with the government this way.
    Some think because their favourite party did not win, therefore they shuld avoid paying to the government, then the government will perform bad due to shortage of funds, then the same people will bad-mouth the political party they dislike.
    Some people say it is a bother to submit tax, therefore they will just minus the amount of tax when selling it, and the new owner can pay the tax during transfer.

  • prado

    It depends which insurance company which you take, we have a family car more than 10 years and it was been insured every year with IGI. Of course we had insurance since day one.

    Each time we have an accident they take care of things, and they handle of repairs them selves with the dealer. It is pretty much the same process any where in the world get police report call the insurance people as the soon as the accident happens etc

    So in any case as far i am concern insurance has been worth it and frankly when buying new cars one should get it done.

    concerning “haram”… lol… since when did we have an attack of morality here?.. since moving from Dubai to Lahore the level of dishonesty and corruption among ordinary people is unbelievable. The funny here they dont think it wrong.. no wonder people like Imran Khan can never win here..

  • ysk

    Useless idiot thinks Peshawer is in FATA

  • wasted youth

    This comment of yours proves that you are not only moron but also senseless like your beloved Ganjaas…. I commented that FATA is not under KPK govt. Where I said that Peshawar is in FATA..???Alas.! it’s true that “where ignorance is a bliss, it’s folly to be wise”.

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