KARACHI: The Karachi traffic police have decided to arrest drivers without licences and those carrying fake licences from Monday.
According to traffic police official Muhammad Idrees, who is reader to the Traffic DIG, the impending crackdown will start from Monday morning and 15 checkpoints have been made for the purpose, where traffic DSPs, section officers along with inspectors and sub-inspectors will perform their duties from 11am to 1pm and then from 9pm to 11pm.
The Karachi traffic police launched several crackdowns this year, which included the helmet-compulsory drive, action against substandard Compress Natural Gas (CNG) cylinders in public and school vans, action against violation of rules and traffic signals, action against violation of one-way traffic, against traveling on the rooftops of public buses and coaches and juvenile drivers.
Unfortunately, these crackdowns have not yielded fruitful results and the latest campaign against drivers without licences is feared to be another exercise in futility.
However, Idrees insisted on the success of all the campaigns. “These teams will be deployed on Bilawal Chowrangi, Mai Kolachi Road, before Gulbai Underpass, Baldia Town, Sharae Faisal and other places,” he said.
Do the traffic police have the powers to arrest drivers? Idrees responded that the law regarding the arrests was not new. “It’s already mentioned in Motor Vehicle Ordinance Section 99, under which we can arrest drivers over charges of negligence,” he said, adding that driving without licence was not less than any negligence and it usually became the cause of vehicular fatalities.
Speaking about fake licences, he said that Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 420 can be imposed. “Drivers of commercial vehicles without licences can be put behind bars for maximum two years, whereas drivers of private vehicles can be arrested for maximum of one year,” he said.
The traffic department felt it would have been useless if they had given people more time to get their licences. “People will never apply for licences until we start taking action,” he said. He added, however, that they had requested licences DIG Aftab Pathan to arrange a special desk for the huge number of drivers anticipated to seek licences once the crackdown kicks off.
Meanwhile, Pathan said that he had requested the Traffic DIG to give them at least 15 days. “We have three branches in the city in Nazimabad, Clifton and Korangi and we have the capacity to cater to a large number of people seeking licences,” he said.
On the other hand, an official at the Clifton licence branch, Furqan, told The Express Tribune that since the news of the crackdown against drivers without licences surfaced, he has been receiving several requests. He admitted that the licence offices do not have the capacity to hold a large number of people.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2015.