Gilgit - Baltistan

45,000 hijacked cars running on GB streets

Shakil Anjum

ISLAMABAD: Gilgit-Baltistan is the ‘World Bank’ of stolen cars, says the jailed car don who claims that if he gets help of the GB administration, he can identify and recover at least 45,000 vehicles now running on the streets there.

In a 33-page statement recorded with The News, which he wants to submit to the Supreme Court, Mohammad Hassan says smaller and inexpensive vehicles like Suzuki Mehran and Suzuki Bolan (Carry van) are the most popular stolen vehicles in GB coming from different parts of the Punjab and KPK.

“These sell like hot cakes. You just appoint a small team of honest officers with the necessary judicial and administrative powers and tell them to accompany me to Gilgit-Baltistan. I can help recover at least 45,000 vehicles,” he says.

The don, now in the custody of the Punjab government, again called this correspondent on Tuesday to express the fear that he would be killed in a fake police encounter. In his statement, he says the GB is such a huge market for these small stolen vehicles that the demand never ceases. And as these become cheap, the ‘carriers’ are not required to wait for even a single day to dispose of these stolen vehicles, whether they have original or tampered numbers.

“The fact is that car thieves and carriers at times find it difficult to meet the demand from GB. So much is the demand for these vehicles and so easy it is there for people to get them officially registered as new vehicles that the carriers don’t even bother to change the engine or chassis numbers.”

The don says carjackers get orders for supply of 10, 15 or 20 vehicles daily from their clients in the GB and then go berserk in the plains of the Punjab and KPK, outrageously stealing vehicles of poor people in collaboration with the police and shifting them to the GB.

“There are many routes available for these carriers to take the vehicles to GB of which some are absolutely without any presence of the police or any other law enforcement agency,” he reveals.

First and the foremost of these routes, which obviously is the most popular among these carriers, is monitored by the guards of the Forest Department, who are least interested in the up-country movement of vehicles and especially don’t even cast a glance towards these small vehicles as they are supposed to be looking for only the big trucks travelling down-hill to prevent timber smuggling from these areas.

The second most popular route for these carriers of stolen vehicles is from Mardan, to Swat to Khawazakhela to Shangla Hills to Bisham to Chitral. On this route, there is no checking of vehicles of any kind and thieves almost enjoy a fun drive to Chitral through this route.

The third route available to these ‘carriers’ is from Mardan to Batkhela in Malakand division from where they enter the Dir district and after crossing Dir city, they load the vehicles on trailers to transport them through the tunnel directly into Chitral.

The fourth route is from Mardan to Dir to Saidu Sharif. From Saidu Sharif, there are three different routes forking out in different directions to reach GB.

The fifth route is from Charsadda to Hari Chand to Khopar to Plai to Swat and onward to Chitral. The sixth route is via Mardan to ‘Chota Gujrat’ to Bashkhali, to Swat and onward to Chitral.

The biggest and the most authentic and popular dealer who provides these smaller vehicles including Suzuki Mehran and Suzuki Bolan (Carry) is Sher, a resident of Mardan city, KPK. He is the oldest supplier of stolen vehicles to the GB and still sends at least 15-20 such vehicles every day, stolen mostly from the Punjab, to the GB.

Other main suppliers of these stolen vehicles to GB include Shah, Mujeeb of Mardan and Jawad of Par Hoti. All these vehicles are bought by this group of four people, dominated by Sher. At times, they ‘prepare’ some vehicles through the ‘cut & weld’ or tampering of engine or chassis numbers in the big workshops that they have set up in Mardan.

But usually they send these vehicles without any change of chassis and engine numbers. Once the vehicles reach GB, they are either registered as ‘new vehicles’ or the buyers continue to ply them with the old number plates or even without any registration number plates.

The situation of monitoring, policing and law and order in GB is such that there is no check on these activities, there is no trained police to check the authenticity of a vehicle and its documents, there is no trained staff in the Excise and Taxation Department of GB, which may actually check and verify the authenticity of the vehicle and its registration. This provides a vast free field for these carriers of the stolen vehicles to operate, the don has revealed in his statement.

Source: The NEWS

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