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Branch manager shot dead in third bank heist within a month

Branch manager shot dead in third bank heist within a month

KARACHI: A bank manager was shot dead when he put up resistance to armed robbery at his branch on Shahrah-i-Quaideen on Tuesday afternoon.

The branch manager, Abdul Rahim Motiwala, 57, was father of three and a resident of Federal B. Area’s Block 10, the police said.

The Rs400,000 heist, which was the third bank robbery within a month, triggered a strong reaction from Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah who questioned the police’s performance in the city that has witnessed a surge in targeted killings, street crime and bank robberies, officials said.

It was around 1.35pm when four armed robbers clad in shalwar kameez pulled up outside the branch of United Bank Ltd on Shahrah-i-Quaideen, the officials said, adding that two of them entered the branch and snatched the weapon from a lone security guard. “Then their two accomplices entered the branch, held the staff and a few customers hostage at gunpoint,” said SSP East Irfan Baloch while citing details of an initial report registered with the area police. 

CM questions police’s performance in city

“One of them preferred to stay at the entrance, as others collected cash from the counter and mobile phones from staff members. While returning with the booty, the robbers also took away the gun of the security guard.”

Just before the robbery the bank manager, Mr Motiwala, had gone out while attending a call on his mobile phone, the officer said. The manager sensed the situation and waited for the robbers in a bid to overpower them, the SSP added.

“As the robbers were fleeing, Mr Motiwala tried to overpower one of them which triggered firing by another. The [gunfire] left him dead on the spot and the bandits managed to speed away in a pickup waiting outside,” added the officer.

Taking immediate notice of the incident, Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja sought a detailed report from DIG East about the robbery. According to a statement issued by the Central Police Office, the police chief called for action against officials if any of them was found guilty of negligence.

“Mr Khowaja has directed the DIG CIA that in the wake of evidences collected from the crime scene and statements of eyewitnesses and bank staff, steps be undertaken for the arrest of the robbers at the earliest,” added the statement.

Over the past one month, the city has witnessed a rise in violent and criminal activities, spreading fear among residents who had witnessed relative restoration of peace in Karachi after years of violence on sectarian, ethnic and political grounds. 

The recent surge in criminal and violent activities is coincidentally witnessed after the change of command in the Karachi police hierarchy. 

Within a month three bank branches were looted while four policemen and nearly half a dozen political workers were killed in gun attacks.

The fresh bank heist irked the chief minister who in a strong reaction questioned the performance of the law-enforcement agency and sought a detailed report of the incident and action against the area’s station house officer, who was later suspended by the city police chief.

“How can such a violent incident take place in broad daylight in Karachi?” said the chief minister according to a statement issued by CM House.

“Where were the area police? What progress have they made in the case up till now?” he questioned.

Mr Shah ordered immediate arrest of the robbers and asked Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo to use all available resources for investigation into the bank robbery to achieve the desired results within the shortest possible time.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2017

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