A challenge for authorities

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Bank robberies have become a challenge for the authorities as there is an unprecedented rise in such cases in recent months. Just imagine, the city was struck by second successful bank robbery in two days. As many as five robbers looted cash from a branch of Al-Baraka Bank in Kharadar’s Boulton Market and managed to flee along with the cash and guards’ weapons on Wednesday morning. The robbers entered the bank at 9:56am with their faces covered with caps and helmets. They held the bank staffers and customers, as well as the security guards, hostage at gunpoint and looted Rs 600,000 from the cash counter. They also snatched mobile phones from the customers in the bank and managed to safely escape with their stolen goods, all within the span of a few minutes. Fortunately, the police obtained closed-circuit television footage of the incident, as the robbers did not take the cameras installed at the bank with them while fleeing. Karachi, a city that is home to over 20 million residents and where security forces have been actively combating criminals for the past four years, witnessed its second consecutive bank robbery on Wednesday last. Despite increased security following Tuesday’s tragic robbery, in which the bank manager of a private bank was shot dead, law enforcers have failed, yet again, to protect banks in the city from being looted, raising questions over the performance of the agencies conducting the much-vaunted Karachi operation. Bank robberies remain a challenge for law enforcement agencies in Karachi, as 12 banks were robbed in 2016; 10 of them occurred in the first four months. In 2017 that number seems to be on the rise, as Karachi has witnessed a total nine bank robberies since January. This was the second consecutive bank heist in the past two days and was the third in the month of August. It may be mentioned here that a major bank heist took place in Ferozabad on Tuesday when robbers shot and killed an operational branch manager of UBL for offering resistance during the robbery. The criminals were able to flee with Rs600,000 in cash. A senior police official said that out of the nine robberies that have occurred in 2017, four robberies have been investigated but the remaining five are still pending. As per available report, the same group was involved in the Ferozabad robbery and one at a Faysal Bank branch in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on July 20, while Wednesday’s culprits were from a different group. Investigators claim to have made a breakthrough in the bank robbery and have issued pictures of the bank robbers after finding their images in the CCTV footage. The police have also announced a reward of Rs500,000 for anyone who aids the police in the arrest of the robbers.

Positive new endeavours

Currently our national game hockey is at its lowest ebb. It needs concerted and comprehensive effort to revive it and make the green shirts regain lost glory in hockey. In this connection, the Pakistan Hockey Federation is making efforts and its latest manifestation of its efforts is the Pakistan hockey league which is set to begin in November. The PHL will not only revive the lost interest of hockey in the country but will also help improve the standard of hockey. It will also give former Olympians a chance to play and earn in their own country like they have been doing abroad. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is all set to hold the country’s first-ever Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) in November-December and the good news is that it will be held in Pakistan. PHF has been planning this league since the new management took charge. But they were facing financial constraints and also had security concerns in relation to inviting foreign players. As fans of cricket saw two successful editions of Pakistan Super League (PSL), hockey as a national game decided to hold a league in Pakistan which will help them in their struggle to revive and bring back the lost glory of the national game. Initially, the PHF management decided to hold the league in December 2016 but then had postponed the dates to March 2017. However, now following security clearance by the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa PHF has decided to hold the league by the end of November. President Khokhar has received full support of Gen Bajwa who has assured him that the army will take care of the security of foreign players. The PHF management was waiting for this news and had made all arrangements. They had spoken to sponsors and hired the same company that has been organizing PSL since the past two years, to organize the hockey league as well. In connection to this, PHF is also organising a World XI matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi where former hockey stars will be coming to Pakistan in September. One may wish the PHF best luck in its endeavors.

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