KARACHI: Citizens on Wednesday protested outside the Karachi Press Club against what they described as ‘VIP culture’ saying that incidents of harassment, abuse and physical assault by security men in protocol of VIPs were growing. Some of the youths also shared their personal experiences to this effect.

They carried banners inscribed with slogans such as ‘No VIP culture’, etc, and chanted slogans demanding setting up of rules for VIPs’ movement and proper training and sensitisation of their security men.

The protest was held in the wake of a recent incident on July 2 when human rights activist and lawyer Mohammad Jibran Nasir was allegedly threatened and later allegedly assaulted by protocol officers of a Sindh High Court judge because, reportedly, he was unable to give way to them owing to traffic congestion on a road in Clifton.

The protesters also distributed a ‘charter of demands’.

They urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the incident in order to inquire as to what legal authority do protocol security officers have to criminally intimidate, threaten, harass, assault and abduct citizens.

They also asked the chief justice to set rules for training and sensitisation of protocol security officers because these security men appeared to have no basic training of security and risk analysis as they freely point guns at anyone driving in their proximity.

The citizens also called for setting up rules for movement of such protocol squads because citizens could not be expected to break traffic rules and risk their own vehicles as well as welfare of other citizens just to make way for VIP movements.

Jibran Nasir said that VIP culture had become a norm in the country as the common people were being subjected to harassment, abuse and physical assault.

He recalled that initially citizens were subjected to traffic jams, delays or being forced to change routes to allow ‘VIP movements’. But now it had become increasing unbearable and unsafe to drive on a road if a VIP was travelling on it, he added.

He said VIPs through their protocol officers coerced citizens to break traffic rules and give them way intimidating and traumatising citizens through different means.

He said such incidents also happened when victim drivers have families with them, including children in their cars.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018

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