SOME 102 motorcycles that are parked on the premises of Karachi`s Anti-Car-Lifting Cell are on the verge of being deposited in the police`s central vehicle pool, the Nazarat. These vehicles are unclaimed amongst some 800 motorcycles recovered or confiscated by the police between Jan 1 and April 6. Last year, the Karachi police sent well over 300 unclaimed motorcycles to the Nazarat. The police quote many reasons why vehicles remain unclaimed: in some cases, owners are not in a position to afford the lawyers` fees, while in others the courts direct the submission of sureties of up to Rs20,000 to regain possession of motorbikes, and the owners choose not to pursue the case. Sometimes, the police also find that the given residential addresses and contact numbers are incorrect.
This issue of unclaimed vehicles — both cars and motorcycles — is present in all Pakistan`s towns and cities. There is little effort by the police to correct this, and there have been cases where unclaimed vehicles have been found to be in the use of the law-enforcement personnel. However, part of the problem is the lack of a computerised database which can help the police easily link vehicles with the complainant/owner. A vehicle snatched or stolen from one part of the country, if recovered in another town or city, is unlikely to be matched up with its owner. Given the number of vehicles snatched or stolen in Pakistan every year, there is a need to develop an integrated database to trace the ownership of recovered vehicles. Then, through the police or other means, provincial governments must set up a system whereby the particulars of unclaimed vehicles, including registration and chassis numbers etc, are regularly and prominently advertised so that people who have had their vehicle stolen or snatched can find out whether and from where their vehicle has been recovered.