PESHAWAR: An unprecedented increase has been recorded in bank robberies as well as attempted robberies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the last few months triggering concern among the bankers and their customers.
At least five banks were attacked by the robbers in the provincial capital and in Khyber and Nowshera districts since January, a source told The News.
In a normal situation, hardly a couple of bank robberies are reported across the province in any year.
However, the first four months of 2021 have already witnessed many failed and successful attempts by the bank robbers in the provincial capital and its two adjoining districts.
In the latest incident, a policeman was wounded when he and the bank guards foiled a robbery in Pabbi.
According to District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Iqbal, four robbers broke into a private bank in Pabbi and snatched the bag containing Rs21 million in cash at gunpoint from the cashier. He said that the guard rang the alarm bell and at the same time opened fire at the robbers.
Head Constable Shakil and another cop of the Police Rider Squad rushed to the spot and engaged the robbers. Shakil sustained injuries in the exchange of fire while the robbers managed their escape after leaving the cash and their vehicle.
In another incident, the manager of a bank Asghar Awan was killed and another official was wounded in a bank robbery in Chamkani in Peshawar in March. The exact amount that the robbers took away in the incident isn’t known.
Armed men broke into another bank and attempted a robbery in Badaber in rural Peshawar a few weeks ago but escaped when the guard challenged them. The robbers could not collect any cash before they managed to escape on bikes.
Two banks were robbed in the adjoining Khyber district, which is also part of the capital city, in the last few weeks.
In January, armed robbers looted Rs6.5 million from a bank in Bara subdivision of Khyber district.
In April, another bank was robbed in Bara. The robbers managed to escape after taking away Rs4.8 million.
In a number of other incidents, individuals were robbed of cash and valuables by armed men. Most of the cases were unreported for one or the other reason. A few percent of the cases were registered.
The incidents have triggered fear among the public. Bank employees and customers are also worried.
The Peshawar High Court recently observed that the price hike has led to an increase in crimes in society.
On Friday, the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abbas Ahsan directed the senior and junior officers to increase the security of banks and ATMs ahead and during Eidul Fitr and also during the lockdown.
The CCPO, a spokesman said, directed the senior officers to re-assess the security and the patrolling of ATMs and banks as no negligence will be tolerated in providing security and safety to the public.