‘Lets marry before hanging up’
* Prank callers ‘marry each other’ to Rescue 15 operators
By Shafiq Sharif
LAHORE: The latest spin for the emergency helpline (Rescue 15) operators is prank calls from girls, who first report a ‘crime’ and then ask operators to marry them over the telephone, Rescue 15 officials told Daily Times on Tuesday.
The officials said some girls call on the helpline regularly, with the same mobile numbers, and make up stories about some crime incidents.
“The pranksters, later, change the subject to getting married and usually hold fake telephonic marriages with the operators. One of the girls pretends to be the bride and her fellow play the priest,” they said.
They said the operators became familiar with the girls’ mobile numbers and often avoided attending their calls. They said when police called the pranksters back, they denied dialling the helpline number.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Professor Dr Malik Hussain Mubashar, also a psychiatric, said prank calls on such emergency numbers was a routine as youngsters usually feel lonely and need someone to spend time with.
“As the joint family system is fading away from our society, it is getting harder for the youth to socialise,” he said.
He said such incidents didn’t only occur in Pakistan but also in developed countries like the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).
He said about 25 to 30 years ago, a system was developed in the UK for such prank callers. “People were allowed to call on the numbers provided and talk to a computer or machine, which sometimes replied to them according to the instructions fed by the programmer,” he said.
Superintendent of Police (mobiles) Capt (r) Suhail Chaudhry told Daily Times that the numbers of top 10 frequent callers had been identified. He said cases were registered against the girls under the Section 29 of the Telegraph Act. “The Investigation Wing officials will hold inquiry into the matter and trace the pranksters,” he said.
He said he had directed the Rescue 15 operators not to respond to such fake calls. “We have also restricted the duration of all calls to three minutes,” he said. Civil Lines Circle Supervisory Police Officer Faisal Gulzar and Civil Lines SP Ahsen Younis were not available for comments.