— Dawn
— Dawn

GUJRAT: The Sialkot-Lahore motorway (M-11) has become a dangerous zone for the road users with fatal accidents and crime incidents in the absence of law enforcement becoming a routine on it since its opening around three to four months ago.

Gujranwala Regional Police Officer (RPO) Riaz Nazeer Gara has also proposed the deployment of the Punjab Highway Police on M-11 as a stop-gap arrangement until the formal functioning of motorway police to improve the rapidly deteriorating security and road safety situation on the section.

Mr Gara recently wrote a letter to Punjab Police chief seeking to impress upon the inspector general, National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP), Islamabad to go for an urgent deployment of motorway police on M-11 whereas the Punjab police chief has also made a similar request to the NH&MP IG to apply all the patrolling mechanism on the said route like the other motorways and highways of the country to address the rapidly deteriorating security situation on the Sialkot-Lahore motorway.

The Gujranwala city police officer, more than a month ago, had brought into the notice of the RPO the rising incidents of heinous crimes on the 42km patch of Sialkot-Lahore motorway passing through various villages of Wahndo and Ferozewala police stations of the Gujranwala district.

Similarly, the Sialkot police as well as the local businessmen, belonging to Gujrat, Wazirabad and other parts of Gujranwala region, had drew attention of senior authorities of police as well as divisional administration about the issues pertaining to poor road safety and absence of patrolling by the motorway police on the road.

The health authorities in Gujranwala and tehsil headquarters hospitals of Daska, Pasrur and Sambrial tehsils of Sialkot have also confirmed a number of fatal road accidents on M-11.

The absence of police has resulted in more accidents as rash driving and speeding are common, posing risks to many people on the road. A Lahore-based journalist along with three members of his family, including his wife and two sons, had become the victim of a severe road accident when a speeding car struck his vehicle near Pasrur toll Plaza on the last day of Ramazan before Eidul Fitr; however, fortunately a police party was already present at the site of the accident for conducting inquiry into another road accident.

The police personnel rescued the all four injured members of the journalist’s family and arranged an ambulance to shift them to Daska THQ Hospital.

It is learnt that the superintendents of police (SPs) of Gujranwala Saddar and Civil Lines divisions had reported the security lapses on the motorway such as no law enforcing agency patrolling it, unplugged U-turns and ongoing construction at some places. There are incidents in which the robbers used the barriers of the construction company for the criminal activities.

Citing the aforementioned reasons, these SPs were of the opinion that the route had become vulnerable for the road users and criminals strike at will in absence of the motorway police, causing extra burden on the Gujranwala police in case of crime incidents or accidents.

A source said that the RPO had formally made a request to the Punjab IGP to deploy the Punjab highway police for patrolling the route for the security of road users and also requested him to send a reminder to the NH&MP IG to deploy the motorway police on M-11.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020

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