Rash driving cutting young lives short in Lahore

22-year-old Shaharyar Ali’s family in mourning after he was hit by police vehicle

Muhammad Shahzad April 13, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: APP

LAHORE: Two-twenty-year-old Sheharyar Ali, whose life was cut short after being hit by a police van on Wednesday, was the sole heir to the business his father had established. Soon, the responsibility for bringing food to the table of his four sisters would have fallen on his shoulders.

The eyes of his uncle, Malik Saleem, well up with tears as he, amid dozens of people who had gathered to pay their respects, shares the ordeal of the family.

Bus driver killed in road accident

Speaking in their neighbourhood of Tharha Tailiyan in Chona Mandi, he says that the deceased’s father has a clothing business on Azam Cloth Market, the largest centre in the city for garments.

“He was helping his father run the business,” the uncle adds. Wishing that he could somehow undo that fateful moment, the uncle recalls that the deceased had stepped out to roam the streets after a hard day’s work.

He was with two of his friends who survived the incident. The survivors stated in the FIR that they were returning after stopping by Shaharyar’s sister’s house. Saleem quotes them as saying that while they were on the way, the driver’s side of a police van hit his nephew.

The victim fell and hit his head on the road divider. The uncle’s expression turns pale as a ghost as again quotes Shaharyar’s friends, who claim the victim’s skull was so badly damaged that it looked like it had been cut into slices.

Saleem alleges that the police officials were drunk. The survivors, meanwhile, claim that the van appeared out of nowhere and none of them had seen a police vehicle on patrol while walking on the road.

He says the cops left a mobile phone and a gun at the site of the accident before fleeing. “They did not even bother to help shift the victims to the hospital.”

Malik Javed, a photo/video journalist, was working nearby when the incident occurred. “I immediately rushed to the spot and also informed my other colleagues in the field. I have covered many tragic events in my decade-long career, but the feelings of covering this incident were very strange.” he added.

“I stuck in a conundrum of whether I should perform my professional duty or mourn this tragic death,” he adds.

After the incident, the family protested and an FIR was registered. Three police officials were arrested and law enforcement officials are investigating the matter.

Worryingly, youth casualties are increasingly becoming commonplace in road traffic accidents. Data compiled by the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) shows that at least 81,500 people, aged between 11 and 30, have fallen victim to such incidents in the last three years of 2016, 2017 and 2018. Out of a total of 183,870 victims during this time period, 33,010 were between 11 and 20 years of age and 48,490 between 20 and 30.

An analysis revealed the young people represented 44.32 % of the total victims. It further showed that casualties were increasing with each year. In 2016, 25,195 were injured and that figured jumped to 27,141 in 2017. In 2018, the number of casualties rose to 29,164.

Four killed in road accident in Lahore

Bike-related accidents were the highest of total accidents. As many as 180,843 road accidents were reported over the last three years. Of these, 80,804 occurred in 2018, 53,979 in 2017 and 46,060 in 2016.

Most of the victims involved suffered fatal injuries. Head injuries were believed to be the most common cause of death. According to Rescue 1122 data, at least 17,978 victims suffered head injuries over the last three years; 7,661 in 2018, 5,830 in 2017 and 4,487 in 2016.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2019.

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