Since police can’t stop crime, they stop tea shops to serve past midnight

Failing to tackle crime, Karachi Police apparently want to take away metropolis’ identity of being the ‘city of lights’ and wish the darkness to take over as it has told tea stall and chai dhaba owners to stop providing outdoor services past midnight.

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If you are not from areas of Clifton or Defence, you may also not be enjoying late-night sittings at chai dhabas – undisputedly favorite rendezvous of the city’s male populace – soon as the police miserably fail to control rising crime.

It has recently been observed that criminals in Karachi have a new modus operandi.

They perform reconnaissance of people – who after a hectic day – like to loosen up with their friends at tea shops during hours around midnight. As they leave for their homes, they are mugged on the way.

In the purview of this rising trend – particularly in posh areas such as Clifton and Defence – the police have a novel idea.

It has come up with a plan which is not against the robbers but for the owners of these chai dhabas and that is: stop rendering outdoor service past midnight.

A social media user recently shared a notice on Facebook, issued by the Darakhshan Police, which read as follows, “On the directives of higher officials, you are directed to end outdoor dining outside your hotel, restaurant or tea shop after 12 (midnight) to avert any untoward incident. According to this notice, this decision was taken while keeping in view the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.”

The rationale

While talking to SAMAA DIGITAL, Darakhshan Police SHO Shoaib ur Rehman endorsed that he issued the notice circulating on social media.

He explained that the tea hotels can continue business past midnight, but not outdoor service.

However, he clarified that hotels can facilitate the customers with indoor service only past midnight.

SHO said that indoors, the hotels were equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and they would have video evidence if something goes wrong there.

What we discovered

To observe the situation in Clifton and Defence past midnight, this scribe visited different areas during the wee hours of Saturday.

The outdoor service was in full swing on famous Boat Basin food street.

Upon inquiry, the hotel owners claimed to receive no such notice from the police.

However, tea shop owners in DHA Phase-II (Extension) told SAMAA DIGITAL that their jurisdiction police were not letting them provide outdoor service after 12am.

Hameedullah, a tea shop owner, said that police mobiles start patrolling when it is still a quarter to midnight.

“They warn us to remove all chairs kept outdoors before they return,” he added.

Later, this scribe visited eateries located in Khadda Market, DHA Phase-V where the hotels and restaurants were operational with both indoor and outdoor dining services.

The eateries’ owners in Khadda Market said that the police initially tried to force their outdoor services shut, but later it was clarified that the restriction was only limited to tea shops.

Tea hotels are hotspots

Clifton Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Ahmed Faisal Chaudhry also verified that the directives to close outdoor dining past midnight was only limited to tea shops.

When SP was questioned why the orders were limited to tea hotels, he replied that they emerged as snatching hotspots in areas of Defence and Clifton.

He explained that a number of people, after dinner, throng to tea hotels where they meet and sit with friends.

SP said among them are also members of the robbers’ gangs who perform their reconnaissance.

“During the investigation of some recent criminal incidents, the police discovered that the criminals conducted reconnaissance of their target at such spots,” he added.

He said that the criminals locate their target and informed about them to their other group members.

“They identify people who are carrying precious valuables, particularly mobile phones and when they depart, the criminals chase them and deprive them of their valuables.”

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