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Pillion-riding ban lifted

Updated August 13, 2013

KARACHI, Aug 12: The Sindh government on Monday lifted a ban on pillion-riding more than five months after it was imposed in March with the authorities citing a ‘better law and order situation’ as the reason for it.

A senior official said the decision to remove the ban on pillion-riding was taken on advice of the security agencies, which suggested that the facility could be restored considering the recent trend of law and order.

“Definitely the ban is imposed on recommendations of the police and other law-enforcement agencies, which propose the restriction after certain intelligence reports and considering the vulnerable law and order situation,” said Sharfuddin Memon, a consultant to the Sindh home ministry, which enjoys the right to invoke Section 144 of the criminal procedure code to impose a ban with immediate effect.

“Similarly, it’s lifted under the same policy. The security agencies believe that when the situation improves and people may be allowed to ride pillion but the restriction may return if the law and order or security situation demands an immediate ban on the facility.”

The ban on pillion riding always inconveniences the middle- and lower-middle classes with questions from all segments of society about objectives the law-enforcement agencies achieve by depriving more than a million Karachiites of a cheap transport and effectiveness of the curb itself when more than 850 people were killed during the last three months, mostly in attacks by armed riders.

The official argument favouring the ban on pillion-riding failed to convince the common man considering the number of people killed.

A report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last week said some 1,726 people were killed in the city during the fist six months of 2013 and 853 were targeted from April to June when the ban on pillion riding was in place.

During April 262 people died against 258 dead during the corresponding month last year. May saw 278 people killed whereas the last year’s death toll during that month was 244. The deadliest month, according to the report, of the first half year was June when 313 people lost their lives, which is way ahead of the 229 killings reported in June 2012.