Police hardly checked vehicles, harassed us: Islamabad residents

September 21st, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 21 (IANS) The Pakistani capital has long been a hotbed of terrorists but police have been overlooking this stark reality and been busy taking “bribes” and “harassing” commoners, media reports said Sunday, a day after a blast killed at least 46 people here.Panicky residents in Islamabad told Daily Times that police had not been checking vehicles “thoroughly” at entry points to the city.

“Police manning various entry and exit points did not focus on ensuring that vehicles crossing into the city were scanned properly,” the newspaper said quoting citizens after Saturday’s devastating attack on the Marriott Hotel.

“Rather they (the police) direct or misdirect their energies on checking vehicles leaving the city, to the extent of harassment in most cases,” added the newspaper.

A suicide bomber drove a truck packed with a tonne of explosives into the five-star hotel in the heart of the heavily guarded Pakistani capital, setting ablaze one of the best known hubs of the country’s elite.

The checkpoints to Islamabad are set up mainly at Agha Shahi Avenue, G-10, Kashmir Highway, G-11, and Damn-e-Koh Road. But still terrorists managed to carry the explosives-laden truck in Islamabad, defying all the security arrangements.

Ghulam Qadir, the driver of a chicken delivery van, told the newspaper: “If you are not well dressed and travelling in an old vehicle, you will be definitely stopped by police while leaving the city. The cops will use foul language and allow you to go out after taking at least Rs.100 as bribe.”

He alleged that police were more interested in taking a bribe rather than ensuring security and checking the vehicles.

People on the outskirts of the city also complained that police officials usually harass them at check posts, Daily Times said.

“They not only stop you, but also harass you. If you were with family, they would shamelessly ask your relationship with the women sitting in your vehicle. The next question would be what is in the water bottle?” said Pirzada Hafeez, a resident.

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