Overstepping authority: Traffic wardens confiscating valuables as ‘guarantee’ on failure to produce registration book

Police official accused of taking away mobile phones claims the law is on his side.


Fawad Ali August 18, 2013
Traffic wardens stopping commuters to ask for documents in Rawalpindi. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI:


The traffic wardens in the garrison city have started confiscating mobiles phones and other valuables as a ‘guarantee’ from drivers who do not have registration books with them when out driving.


This novel way of appropriating commuters’ possessions not only calls into question the traffic wardens’ honesty it also shows that the Rawalpindi Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Ishtiaq Hussain Shah does not keep an eye over his subordinates.

In an incident that took place at Chungi Number 22 on Friday, traffic warden Sub-Inspector (SI) Khalil Ahmed signalled van to stop and asked the driver to show the car’s registration book. When the driver could not produce it, the warden started to misbehave.

He seized his cellular phone as a ‘guarantee’ instead of issuing him a fine straightaway, ordering the driver to go home and bring the documents.



Imran Nawaz, a public transporter, confirmed the incident, while talking to The Express Tribune, saying he was heading towards Bakra Mandi Chowk with his family members when the warden stopped him and confiscated his mobile phones.

When SI Ahmed was contacted for his version, he again misbehaved, saying he had the authority to confiscate the drivers’ valuables if they failed to produce the required documents. When asked which law he was referring to, he harshly replied, “Mr Reporter do your job and don’t interfere in police matters. I’m only answerable to my CTO and no one else.” The warden then hung up the phone.

CTO Ishtiaq Hussain Shah expressed astonishment over the incident and assured of strict action against the warden if the victim lodged a complaint with him. Answering a query, the CTO replied, “Under the law, the traffic police can only check the registration book and not confiscate mobile phones or other valuables from road users in case of traffic rules violations.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2013.

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