As 20 coffins of the victims of Thursday night's tragic accident on the Indus Highway near Sehwan were being carried to Khairpur district on Friday, Jamshoro police registered an FIR of the incident ensuring that no government department responsible for their deaths was charged.
The FIR, lodged at Sehwan police station on complaint of ASI Azhar Hussain Jokhio, only blamed the van's driver for overspeeding and overloading.
There was no direct mention of National Highway Authority (NHA), National Highway and Motorway Police (NH&MP) and Sindh government's Regional Transport Authority (RTA) for miserably failing in terms of poor road, lack of highway regulation and passenger overloading.
The van was overloaded with 34 passengers against its capacity of 18 or 19 seats. Besides the deceased, 11 passengers sustained minor injuries but three of them were critically wounded. Two of them are on ventilators in Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical and Health Sciences in Sehwan. The third injured patient is likely to be discharged on November 19, a doctor said.
"There are serious lapses on part of the NHA and NH&MP which can't be ignored," a concerned officer of the Sindh government, who requested anonymity, said while talking to The Express Tribune. "Both the federal departments have been requested time and again to address the issues but to no avail."
The officer pointed out that the motorway police do not regularly patrol the highway even though they know that the drivers specially of the public transport vehicles break the regulations with impunity. "We don't see any patrolling on M9 motorway [which connects Karachi with Hyderabad] then how can they cover that highway."
Talking to the local media at the funeral the bereaved families gave two days to the government to take action against the government officers who are responsible for the tragic incident. They warned of blocking Shah Hussain Bypass in Khairpur district if the government failed to act.
The Federal Communication Minister Molana Asad Mehmood on Friday suspended six officers of the NHA and NH&MP including Director NHA South Abdul Qudoos Shaikh, Deputy Director NHA Dadu Zulfiqar Shaikh and DSP motorway Israr Ali. On his directives member NHA Muneer Memon and Director motorway Javed Ali visited the site of the accident.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2022.
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