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ISLAMABAD: Capital police requested the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad on Monday to ban the use of emergency vehicle revolving lights by unconcerned officials.

They said only specific departments were legally allowed to use revolving lights to signify an emergency.

Talking to Dawn, some police officers said the Inspector General of Police Islamabad’s office sent a letter to the chief commissioner requesting the ban and to inform such officials that it was illegal to use the lights in their cars.

The Motor Vehicle Rules, 1969, Chapter 4 (Construction, Equipment and Maintenance of Motor Vehicle), reads, “All types of operational vehicles used for the following purposes shall, within three months of the coming into force of this sub-rule be fitted on top of the front option of the vehicle with revolving lights of the color shown against each”.

The rule then allocates colours for lights to be used by different vehicles, stating that the colour red would be used by fire brigades, yellow by ambulances, green by rescue services and blue by police and pilot vehicles. In practice, however, the lights are used by ordinary government officials, especially blue lights which are reserved for the police.

Police sources said district administration officials, including the chief commissioner and the magistrate, have blue lights on their vehicles, which is illegal.

Traffic police officers told Dawn that the interior ministry had often asked them about the law on the use of emergency lights. The ministry had been informed many times, they said, and was told that some government personnel were using them illegally.

Police sources said the chief commissioner had been requested to inform all government departments and ministries that there was a reason these lights were used - to convey to other motorists that there was an emergency - and that the use of revolving lights was a violation of the law.

The chief commissioner was also asked to tell government departments that further use of emergency lights will be dealt with by capital police according to the Pakistan Penal Code section 170 (impersonating a public servant), 171 (wearing or carrying a token used by public servant with fraudulent intent) and according to Traffic Rules.

The officers, talking to Dawn, said a month long campaign will soon be starting to educate people about the use of these lights. When the campaign is over, violators will be dealt with according to the law.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2015

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