Karachi’s traffic police may have made Rs400 million over three years in fines, but the money has yet to benefit the department which is allowed to take 30% of the spoils.
Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan brought this up on Tuesday after a meeting on traffic and street crimes. He said that there was no reason that the traffic system shouldn’t be improved given how much has been accumulating in fines. Seventy per cent goes to the Sindh government but the traffic department is supposed to split its 30% down the middle for equipment and rewards for outstanding officers.
After emerging from the Pakistan Secretariat, Wassan took the opportunity to stress that he wanted to see an improvement in the crackdown on street crime and traffic problems within 15 days and one week, respectively.
“Street crime has increased, vehicle and mobile phone snatching has increased,” he said although without providing any exact numbers to buttress the veracity of his claim. He then went on to suggest that as Muharram, the Chehlum and Rabi ul Awwal have passed, the police could now concentrate on street crime and traffic.
Wassan announced that police will be undertaking snap checking every day for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. It will be up to police stations to choose the times.
“Officers found to be active in controlling crime will be rewarded and action will be taken against inactive officers,” he said, warning of similar consequences for traffic constables. He added that he has directed all DIGs to monitor and develop a strategy to control crime in their areas.
Wassan also commented on how there needed to be an improvement in building cases against suspects. “High profile cases need better results and steps need to be taken towards this and it is our priority,” he said. “People are arrested but they are not convicted.” More police will be deployed in areas that are at greater risk of crime, he added. He said that during his tenure 133 target killers and 63 extortionists were arrested.
Wassan also claimed that for the first time, presumably in the history of the department, there has been no political interference on behalf of his office when it comes to law enforcement. He went on to say that he was not consulted on the posting of DIGs as it was done at the federal level.
The meeting on traffic and crime was attended by Additional Home Secretary Waseem Ahmed, Additional Inspector General of Police Akhtar Hussain Gorchani, Deputy Inspector General of Traffic Khurram Gulzar, Municipal Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board Deputy Managing Director Ali Muhammad Palejo as well as district coordination officers.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2012.