VVIP roadblocks to last only two minutes, SC orders

Provincial IG directed to ensure that citizens are not inconvenienced by prolonged traffic jams

Our Correspondent January 17, 2018
VVIP movement causes inconvenience to commuters. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Sindh inspector-general (IG) of police to ensure that no roads are blocked for more than two minutes for VVIPs who are entitled to traffic blocks as per already laid down rules.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar passed this order, which was released on Tuesday, on a human rights application against blockades on public thoroughfares and roads during VVIPs' movement. Along with Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, the CJP had heard the matter at the SC Karachi Registry on Saturday.

The apex court's human rights cell had received an application seeking direction for the Sindh government authorities to stop blocking public roads during movement of the VVIPs, as it caused great inconvenience to the people, who remained stuck in prolonged traffic jams.

The SC had issued notices to the provincial advocate-general and IG to file their comments to explain the rationale behind the alleged prolonged blockades on public thoroughfares during the VVIPs' movement.

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During Saturday's proceedings, IG Allah Dino Khawaja had in categorical terms informed the judges that no road was permanently blocked for any political or state VVIP functionaries. However, he stated that certain VVIPs were entitled to traffic blocks as per the Blue Book, keeping in view their security needs.

After hearing the arguments, CJP Nisar ordered, "If that being so, as per the Blue Book the traffic block should be imposed strictly for not more than two minutes so that minimum inconvenience is caused to the public". The top judge stated that there was a possibility that people in emergency situations could stuck in long traffic jams which would pose a risk to their lives.


Pending plea

A similar petition against VVIP culture and blocking of public roads in Sindh has been pending disposal at the Sindh High Court (SHC) for the last year.

In January 2017, the Ansar Burney Trust had approached the SHC after a 10-month-old girl had died when her family was allegedly not allowed to enter Civil Hospital, Karachi due to security measures put in place for the arrival of Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other party leaders.

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Bisma, a resident of Gabol Park in Lyari, had been suffering from the measles and had a high fever when her father, Faisal, brought her to the hospital. He arrived at the trauma centre entrance, which was manned by security officials for the arrival of Bilawal, then chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and others.

Shagufta Burney, a representative of the trust, told The Express Tribune that the plea is still pending disposal at the SHC. However, she felt satisfied with the apex court's order to the IG for ensuring that the traffic did not remain blocked for more than two minutes during VVIP movement.


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