RAWALPINDI: A City Traffic Police warden was injured after being shot by a motorcycle rider doing a wheelie on 6th Road before dawn on Thursday.

Sohail Shahzad, the traffic warden, was on duty near 6th Road, and tried to intercept a motorcyclist doing wheelies on Murree Road. In retaliation, the second passenger on the motorcycle pulled out a pistol and shot the warden before the motorcycle riders sped away.

Doctors at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) described Mr Shahzad’s condition as critical and said the next 24 hours would be crucial.

The motorcyclists, who were wearing masks and riding an unregistered vehicle, escaped. The warden was not accompanied by any district police officials deployed at the checkpoint with the warden at the time of the shooting.

“Had the district police been with the traffic wardens, who don’t carry weapons, the culprits would have been caught or forced to give up,” said a senior traffic warden.

City Traffic Officer (CTO) Chaudhry Yousuf Shahid told Dawn that the traffic police began a campaign against wheelies when Ramazan began, and had rounded up over 26 motorcyclists for performing the stunt on the roads.

He said a group of traffic wardens were deployed near 6th Road early Thursday morning when they received information from traffic wardens near Chandni Chowk about motorcyclists moving towards 6th Road and doing wheelies.

Upon receiving the call, Mr Shahzad and other wardens attempted to intercept the motorcycle rider on 6th Road.

“Instead of responding to the police and stopping his bike, the pillion rider pulled out his pistol and fired four gunshots at the traffic wardens and took the wrong side of the road to escape,” Mr Shahid said.

He said Mr Shahzad was shot and critically injured and immediately taken to the BBH, where he was operated on.

Mr Shahid said a number of traffic wardens reached the hospital and donated blood for the injured warden, and the regional police officer announced that Rs50,000 would be given for his treatment. However, the Punjab chief minister has yet to announce any aid for the warden, he said.

When the traffic warden system was launched in Rawalpindi, the wardens were armed but the weapons were withdrawn from them after a shooting involving a traffic warden.

The New Town police have registered an attempted murder case against the unidentified motorcycle riders, and a search for them has begun.

CTO Shahid said people using unregistered vehicles should get registration plates and those caught riding motorcycles without registration plates will be arrested.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2017

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