ISLAMABAD: Qammar Abbas’ stunt was brought to an abrupt end when he crashed his motorbike into a footpath while one-wheeling on the Islamabad Expressway. He died on the spot.
The 22-year-old Abbas was among the many who met accidents while performing stunts on their motorbikes during Independence Day’s celebrations on Saturday.
Youngsters came out on roads in large numbers and played loud music on the audio systems of their cars. They blocked many traffic junctions, came out of their vehicles and danced on roads. The subsequent hooliganism bothered those who were not part of these festivities.
“These youngsters had blocked roads. We were stranded and could not go to our homes. Police did nothing; they stood there and watched,” said Mumtaz Alvi, a resident of sector F-7/2, who was stuck in a traffic jam on Jinnah Avenue for about an hour.
Islamabad Police had made special arrangements to control hooliganism at different popular centres of the city. Special squads of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) and city police were formed to curb rash driving and one-wheeling.
A police official told The Express Tribune that they had impounded 56 motorcycles, arrested 40 people and fined 213 others on Saturday.
Yet many people on the roads complained that the police had failed to curb these “hooligans” and remained “silent spectators”.
“I saw many police officials taking bribes from youngsters to release them,” said Ramzan Ali, a resident of sector F-10.
The motorcycle mechanics, on the other hand, had a field day as hundreds of young bikers queued up at auto shops to get silencers removed from their motorbikes.
“Bikers like to capture people’s attention on the Independence Day, so they asked us to remove the silencers off their motorbikes and fit in different types of valves that produce shrieking sounds,” said Zahid, a motorcycle mechanic at I&T Centre on Peshawar Mor. “Some of them also get a spring in their accelerators removed, which helps them with their stunts,” he added.
Like many other motorcycle mechanics, Zahid earned thousands of rupees in just two days. He said even though the fervour this year was less compared to previous years, he received hundreds of customers on Friday and Saturday alone.
A total of 11 injured bikers were brought to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Saturday, most of them injured in failed stunt attempts. At least three of them were seriously injured and were admitted to the hospital.
Polyclinic Hospital in Islamabad also received more than 10 injured, out of which one had fractured his backbone in a motorcycle crash. The doctors at Polyclinic referred him to Pims for further treatment.
Many main roads of the city remained flooded with bikers who indulged in one-wheeling till late at night, despite efforts by the city administration and police to curb their activities.
Rescue 15 officials deputed at the two hospitals said that the number of injured were more than those officially recorded because most of the injured did not want their accidents reported. “Many of the bikers, fearing their parents’ rage, simply denied that they had any accidents,” said a police official deployed at Pims.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2010.