Data collected through geofencing, Punjab police approached to help arrest ‘knifeman’

KARACHI: The Sindh police stepped up their efforts to arrest the “lone knifeman” attacking women in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal as the investigators on Saturday collected data through geofencing at nine different spots of the two towns and acquired details from their counterparts in Punjab who tracked down culprits in almost the same case some two years ago in Sahiwal, officials said.

The move to collect cellular communication data through geofencing came a day after Sindh IG A.D. Khowaja directed his team to use technological assistance for the attacker’s arrest after two-week conventional probe failed to achieve a breakthrough. The points selected by the investigators for geofencing were marked by the respective police stations which received complaints from women victims, said an official.

‘Police only detained some young motorcycle riders and released them after initial inquiries’

“There are a total of nine places initially selected for this purpose and we hope that this exercise will help,” he said. “It may take time to analyse such data acquired through this exercise but it has been quite effective in previous investigations. Intelligence on ground and physical presence of the personnel in the areas — both in uniform and civvies — plus such technological support would hopefully lead to the desired results.”

The fresh move by the investigators would add to their efforts for the suspect’s arrest as nothing positive has emerged so far. The incidents have not only emerged as a serious challenge for the police but also provided space to political parties to question the Pakistan Peoples Party government’s effectiveness. The hype created by the broadcast media has fanned speculation and triggered more fear in the two neighbourhoods.

“An SSP-rank officer with his team has met officers in the Punjab police, who had resolved almost the same case in 2015. Those findings would further help [track] the trend here in Karachi. No arrest has, however, been made yet. The police only detained some young motorcycle riders and released them after initial inquiries,” said the official.

The police have announced a Rs500,000 reward for anyone who may give information leading to arrest of the culprit(s) and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has separately announced a matching sum as a reward for the attacker’s arrest.

Sketches of suspect

Meanwhile, the central police office officially released more sketches of the suspect, asking the people to help the investigators trace him. The fresh images showed two different motorbikes and in one incident the attacker is wearing shalwar-kameez.

“The police are releasing pictorial sketches for awareness and cooperation from the public,” said a brief statement issued by the Sindh police spokesman. “The physical description and maximum details gathered from witnesses and CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras have been given. The police presence has been enhanced in the area in various formats. The people are requested to cooperate with the police.”

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