Bahria town racing: Speed thrills but kills five

Published: December 6, 2010
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Participants of the drag race zoom away from the start line on Sunday. PHOTO: APP

Participants of the drag race zoom away from the start line on Sunday. PHOTO: APP

RAWALPINDI: Five spectators of a drag race were killed when one of the sports cars skidded off the road and ran them over. A woman and a minor child were also injured in the incident, which took place on Sunday in Phase VIII of Bahria town, a posh locality in the outskirts of the twin cities.

Driver of car number 707, Muhammad Majid Khan, who is also the senior manager of a national telecom giant, managed to escape from the scene with a few injuries, said police.

It was not clear if the race was legally organised or not. The Rawat area police denied having given permission to the telecom company to organise the race. The company officials, however, had somehow managed to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Bahria Town management.

“A copy of the NOC was sent to the police station after we had rejected their application seeking permission to hold the race,” said a police official.

Witnesses told the police that the speeding driver had lost control of his car, and was trying to reduce speed by grazing it along the footpath. However, he failed to regain control and after hitting the footpath, the car skidded straight on to crush the spectators.

Four people Daniyal Khan, Babar Khan, Sohail Khan and Colonel (Retired) Mohsin Khan died on the spot, while Asfand Yar was pronounced dead upon reaching the hospital. A woman Jamana Khan and a minor child Hamza Iqbal suffered injuries and were shifted to the nearby Safari hospital.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Commissioner Rawalpindi, Zahid Saeed said that the race was illegally organised.

“After they were refused permission, the organisers informed us that the race would be held in the jurisdiction of Islamabad and not Rawalpindi but then they did it in the latter,” said Saeed.

Police said cases were registered against the driver of the car, the Bahria Town management, and the chief organiser of the race, Sheikh Atif, who had managed to escape.

Commissioner Saeed said that strict action would be taken against everyone found involved in organising or executing the race. The race was allegedly sponsored by the leading telecom company but no spokesperson was available for comments.

In a drag race, two challengers race down a straight road. Usually, light sports cars fitted with powerful engines are used. Winning the race requires being able to change gears quickly and smoothly at the perfect time (depending on the optimum revolutions per minute (rpm) of the engine). Since the cars normally speed down a straight road, spectators feel safe standing just on the side and watching the events unfold at relative proximity. Drivers are required to keep a close watch on their rpms, turning and manoeuvring skills are not tested. Majid, however, managed to lose control over his vehicle and drove off the track. Because the car was at a high speed, the spectators did not have any time to move out of the way or run for safety.

“The car was completely smashed,” said police. Rawat police were on the look out for Sheikh Atif and Majid Khan. However, no arrests were made till the filing of this report.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • JAHANZAIB
    Dec 6, 2010 - 11:56AM

    WELL EM REALY SAD TO HEAR THAT I LIVE IN PHASE 7 (BAHRIA)
    I HAD A PLAN TO GO BT DUE TO SOME DOMESTIC REASONZ didn’t go………..

    well i saw the cars roaring at safirivillas2 entrance…there were 10-12 hondaz many had nitrous installation….

    i would say that races like that should be properly organized….
    malik riaz should take notice himself there…….. Recommend

  • SK
    Dec 6, 2010 - 12:40PM

    Four people Daniyal Khan, Babar Khan, Sohail Khan and Colonel (Retired) Mohsin Khan died on the spot

    Kindly correct, it is not Colonel (Retired) Mohsin Khan who died, its Mohsin who is the son of a Colonel who died. Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Dec 6, 2010 - 12:41PM

    The guys escaped. I am sure these guy are no less than “proper” ghundas in real life. But when they get into something like this. They run away. Bloody cowards!!! Wannabe racers!!! Bahria town management must face the music now. And Tribune should highlight the name of the telecom company. Why did you not do it in the first place?Recommend

  • Ali Rehman
    Dec 6, 2010 - 1:01PM

    This is a horrific accident! Babar Khan was a dear friend and colleague of mine. It is extremely shocking to hear about his death along with his young son, Asfandyar. This is the epitome of the worst case when it comes to holding spectator events held in Pakistan. Proper arrangements are not met and basic requirements are blatantly violated, endangering the lives of the people who are there to watch the spectacle. I sincerely hope that the National Telecom Giant is taken to task for the flagrant disregard for human life, something which is so out of tune with their Corporate Values!Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 6, 2010 - 1:42PM

    What a gruesome tragedy. Police is harping on the same rhetoric. At least this was an “organized” race at a deserted road. Thousand of pedestrians die in Pakistan each year but no one is eager to hear their pleas. I guess this time there will be quick action as there was a colonel involved and the dead are from the so-called “elite class”. This is the harsh reality in Pakistan. What a shame!Recommend

  • Sardar Alam Khan
    Dec 6, 2010 - 2:41PM

    Inna-lilahe-wa-inna-ilaihe-rajioon

    I would say, safety measures should be stepped up and also such things should be organized legitimately.
    http://www.facebook.com/IAARACCOPRecommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Dec 6, 2010 - 3:49PM

    Is this the racing sponsored and organised by PTCL to advertise and promote their ‘nitro’ ???
    It is, isnt it?
    Why is no one implicating PTCL?Recommend

  • Ali Rehman
    Dec 6, 2010 - 4:35PM

    @Adeel Ahmed

    By national telecom giant, they do mean ”PTCL”! Since that is the only big national telecom in this god-forasaken country of ours!Recommend

  • MUZAFFAR ZAIDI
    Dec 6, 2010 - 5:13PM

    It’s ironic,tragic and criminal act to hold car race in such a posh living locality.Such races are never heard to be organized in cities that to so protected security wise as Bahria Town is.Now
    every one from bureaucracy will play it’s flute to escape his responsibility and put on others’
    shoulders.But isn’t a criminal negligence on the part of responsible powerful mafia.And who dares
    to take them to task ??? A BIG QUESTION MARK.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Dec 6, 2010 - 6:56PM

    Its a sad incident but not shocking. Car racing is a sport, in which only well trained and experienced drivers should participate. In our country, those idiots who have expensive cars think themselves race drivers. I can bet that these drivers did not know physical laws, which contribute to such accidents. All those who drove, organised, including town management and who watched this illegal activity should be punished.Recommend

  • Malik
    Dec 6, 2010 - 7:09PM

    A very sad incident may all the souls rest in peace..AmeenRecommend

  • Mansoor Tamkeen
    Dec 6, 2010 - 7:37PM

    My sympathies to all who lost their lives and offcourse their families.Very unfortunate to loose people like Babar Ali Khan.He was such a dynamic and charismatic personality.Mr. Babar your presence in the Bank and DHA Branch would be badly missed.May your soul rest in Heavens.Amen.Recommend

  • ALY KHAN
    Dec 6, 2010 - 10:04PM

    It is very unfortunate but the truth is that these races take place regularly in behria town this wasnt the first time n the crowd comes to watch due to their own interests, n the reason they call it an accident it cuz it happened accidently….everyones talking as if this was the first event and its never happened before….comon guys cut the guy some slack he didnt do it intentionallyRecommend

  • Mustafa
    Dec 7, 2010 - 12:07AM

    Why is Tribune hiding name of the TELECOM GIANTS? Do they have stakes involved ?Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2010 - 3:30AM

    Yet another proof that Pakistani rich and educated are responsible for destruction of our beloved country. Shame on them who committed such crime and then ran away like cowards. Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 5:00AM

    Its not a question of the race being organised or not permitted to organised. The question is why spectators were allowed to stand with such close proximity. Plus I saw the video of the accident. The bodies were lying on the ground and despite being ambulance there, they werent picked up instantly.Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 9:52AM

    How can one escape after the major accident. I am not sure what police says, but if it is a clear violation of the rules, the management of Bahria town and the PTCL team should be taken to the task and not the driver. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 7, 2010 - 3:55PM

    some one should at least regularize if not curb this fast and furious generation Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2010 - 6:36PM

    Dear All,
    This is a case of criminal negligence. The organizers including Bahria Town are responsible for this tragedy. If at all Mr Ali Riaz was interested in hosting this sport he should have spent some money on the safety of the spectators as well, to my understanding a criminal case should also be registered against Mr Ali Riaz ( Chief Executive) Bahria Town
    RegardsRecommend

  • Tashfeen Bokhary
    Dec 7, 2010 - 10:49PM

    Everyone seems to know Babar Khan and his son but no one here seems to know the other two victims Sohail Khan and Danial Khan so let me shed some light on them.

    Sohail Khan just turned 43 in October and was a very energetic, adventurous and enthusiastic young man. Sohail was born in UK to a Pakistani father and a Scottish mother. He came to Pakistan as a young boy and grew up in Peshawar. He attended Peshawar Public School and did his Matric in 1985. Then he attended Islamia College and in 1989 he went to USA to study. After attending Ohio State University in Columbus, OH he came back to Pakistan in 2000 and was involved with UN in Middle East and Afghanistan.

    Pakistan lost a great hero in Sohail and his son Danial. The organizers of this race should be help accountable for not keeping public safety in mind.Recommend

  • Ahmed Jehanzeb
    Dec 7, 2010 - 11:46PM

    Stop and Realize:

    People don’t know that the spectators were REPEATEDLY told by the Organizers to stand BEHIND the ‘Nala’ to avoid something like this.

    Not once, not twice, not thrice. But over and over again it was blared over the loudspeakers to Stand on the LEFT side of the Track, not on the RIGHT side of the Track.

    The accident occured on the RIGHT side of the Track, where spectators were NOT supposed to be.

    The IGNORANT SPECTATORS kept creeping back beyond the ‘Nala’ after the Police car or the Organizers would roll away from the scene.

    I pray for a fair trial to this sad event.Recommend

  • m
    Dec 8, 2010 - 2:54AM

    sad event. may Almighty Allah bless the souls of the deceased and grant them a place in Jannat. I strongly believe that the organizers and management of this housing society should be brought to justice for flouting the law after permission had been refused to hold this race. Equally, the police should be held responsible for not upholding the law – afterall they are suppose to ensure that there is no violation of law or rules. Another case of ignorance and arrogance from all parties. A loss of five innocent lives is a disaster for Pakistan and a tragedy of unimaginable bearing for the loved ones of these unfortunate victims. Will anyone start safeguarding the lives of Pakistani citizens who are live each passing day with sword to their neck at very turn of the hour. This total disregard of human lives must end now.Recommend

  • Waqar
    Dec 8, 2010 - 5:51AM

    @ Ahmed
    “The IGNORANT SPECTATORS”
    This disparaging connotation displays the level of empathy that you have for the deceased.
    They are no longer with us to defend themselves. They have names just like you and me.Recommend

  • Atif
    Dec 8, 2010 - 12:03PM

    @Ahmed
    Please stop blaming the spectators (or pedestrians) What if someone was walking on footpath to go home? What if (god forbid) someone very close to you was involved? Since no permission was granted by district administration, then why the heck was the event organized? Legally, since speed limits were enforced (which is 50 in Bahria town in most places and does not exceed 80 anywhere in BT) because of lack of permission, a driver driving at 170 should be tried for 3rd degree murder of 5 innocent people. But who cares in country like Pakistan. And infact I can still find people defending the driver. For God’s sake people, try to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. I am afraid, given the “rule of law” in Pakistan, that people from elite class, who were the organizers and driver(s) will next day be organizing and getting involved in a drag race again without proper safety measures and race tracks.Recommend

  • Ali Suleman
    Dec 9, 2010 - 12:24PM

    @ ahmed i agree wth u…ppl were not allwd 2 stand on the rght side..sme 1 here is talking that the ppl havin sports cars in pakistan thinks that they are Racers..but this driver was a profeesional racer and is 1 of those who introduced Drag race in pakistan..his car was totally made for drag race..
    and what u ppl think that driver was the enemy of that Colenl..?? and thats y he killed him..?
    its all that #$%that aftr evry road accdnt here we blame the driver….Recommend

  • zahid
    Dec 9, 2010 - 11:58PM

    We need to fix responsibility, and in my opinion following are responsible:

    PTCL, as the race was organised for promotion of one of there product.
    Driver who lost the control of car resulting in death of 5 people and then he ran away.
    Organiser on the ground (Atif).
    Bahria Town Management.
    Concerned SP and DC.

    They all need to be penalized.Recommend

  • MH
    Dec 10, 2010 - 2:42PM

    Looks like the main culprit Ali Mirza would go scot free. His name would of course not be put on the ECL because powers that be will do anything to safeguard a murderer. To add insult to the injury, the Islamabad police senior officers also had to apologize to this Bahria Town tycoon for asking about his son’s whereabouts. Recommend

  • Dec 10, 2010 - 4:16PM

    asfandyar waz n intelligent boy nd v shuld stop reckless drivingRecommend

  • MH
    Dec 10, 2010 - 7:50PM
  • Dec 13, 2010 - 11:58PM

    Bahria Town is deeply regretful and sorrowful and have apologized and condoled to the dear families who have been traumatized by this tragic accident. No words or compensation can comfort the awful loss of life. May Allah give them strength and solace.

    It should be noted though that Bahria Town has organized many, many excellent events in the past, and been a great source of entertainment without any such accident.

    The need for increased safety measures and precision planning are the lessons learned here. However, wherever people gather in this country it is a potential source of concern and danger. The rabid public backlash towards the organizers will serve as a severe deterrent to anybody who wishes to organize any kind of entertainment for the public in future.Recommend

  • Waqar
    Dec 14, 2010 - 5:28PM

    @ MH

    president visits driver’s daddy.

    Did he visit the families of the deceased too?Recommend

  • [email protected]
    Dec 15, 2010 - 2:42PM

    I feel really bad about the accident that took place in bharia.Specially i will pray for the people that have died, that they should have place in jannat.Recommend

  • Bilal Awan
    Dec 16, 2010 - 1:29AM

    Babar Ali Khan and his son will be greatly missed. Babar Bhai was a very generous and loving elder brother. i will miss you. Allah aap ko janat main jagga dain ameen. Recommend

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