Traffic wardens protest against their chief in Lahore

CTPL spokesperson says demonstrators are corrupt officials

Muhammad Shahzad September 25, 2019
Representational Photo. PHOTO. FILE

LAHORE: Traffic wardens protested on Tuesday outside the Lahore Press Club against the alleged “injustices” of Chief Traffic Police Officer (CTO) Liaqat Ali Malik.

Mirza Shahbaz, who had been dismissed from service, told The Express Tribune that he had filed a petition with the Lahore High Court, in May 2019, against wardens being ‘paraded’ as punishment for a wrongdoing.

He also appealed against being compelled to appear before the CTO, instead of marking an entry into the roznamcha, after re-joining from a leave of absence.

Elaborating on his grievances, he said ‘parade punishments’ were against the law. He pointed out that such punishments could not be issued to superior officers, according to the law.

Speaking on the second issue, he pointed out the rules dictated that a warden absent from duty had to mark his entry into the roznamcha after resuming charge. However, the CTO issued orders for such wardens to appear before him. “He would make them sit the whole day outside his office and by evening time, tell them to appear on the next day.”

The warden added that his peers would be made liable for severe punishment after their leaves multiplied as a result of not being able to resume charge. Shahbaz continued that his petition prompted the court to issue an order to the Punjab IGP to start strictly complying with the law in 20 days’ time.

Giving a personal example, the warden said when he appeared before the CTO to rejoin duty, he was told to approach the court before taking charge. He added the delay in resuming duty resulted in him being marked absent 44 times and led to his ultimate dismissal after six inquiries.

However, he was never given the chance to defend himself in this case, he alleged.

Shahbaz said that an FIR, under 155-c of the Police Order (2002), was also registered against him. CTPL also lodged a complaint against him with the cybercrime wing, he added.

The dismissed traffic policeman said he filed another petition asking the court to remove the condition on wardens to impose a minimum number of challans. He said the CTO issued orders that every warden had to meet a target of 10 challans a day. “Whoever missed the target was fined anywhere up to Rs4,000 and having their entire month’s salary cut,” he claimed.

Another warden, Awais Abbassi, was also present during the protest. He accused SP Traffic Hammad Qureshi of misbehaving with him on duty. Consequently, an FIR was registered against him by CTPL under 155-C, accusing him of corruption and negligence.

CTPL Spokesperson Arif Rana said the protesting wardens, and the six or seven lawyers on their side, were “corrupt”. He said the protest was organised by dismissed warden Mirza Shahbaz and Awais Abbassi who were sacked on charges of corruption and misbehaving with seniors.

He said that the purpose of the protest was to tarnish the image of the department. “Suspended warden Awais Abbassi is accused of embezzling Rs0.180 million through driving licenses. Both wardens have lodged baseless claims in a propaganda campaign on social media.” He said that was the reason CTPL approached the Cybercrime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate an inquiry against both the wardens.

“CTPL will not tolerate such corrupt elements in the department and has vowed to take even more strict action against them,” he concluded.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2019.


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