THERE has been a lot of talk on chaotic vehicular traffic and subsequent massive congestion on Karachi roads in these columns and elsewhere. Some blame increasing number of vehicles for this, while others think the reason is the lack of proper infrastructure and roads.

But there is another vital element that actually contributes phenomenally to the poor traffic conditions – Karachi traffic police. Yes, the very people who are supposed to ensure smooth traffic flow. While one can observe the absence of traffic constables where and when they are needed the most, it is actually their presence which causes the real trouble, including snarl-ups.

A perfect example of this is the traffic circus at the Quaid-i-Azam House on the main Sharea Faisal, where at least eight to 10 policemen, including officers, can be seen harassing on one pretext or the other commuters who are neither involved in traffic violation nor in any accident. This goes on all day long, day after day. To support their (mis)adventures, these policemen have placed barriers too and ask their victims to park their cars for checking driving licence, documents, etc., but everyone knows it is basically done to initiate ‘negotiations’.

The officials who should regulate and ensure smooth flow of traffic create a traffic mess on the spot for financial gains. Ironically, I have seen cars without registration plates whizzing past these policemen.

On Sept 29, when I reached the Noorani Kabab House intersection at about 7pm, I was signalled by a traffic constable to move ahead. When I moved ahead, he blocked my way by standing in front of my car, telling me I had violated the rule. He asked another constable to detain me by sitting in my car. The constable, carrying a hand-held electronic device for issuing tickets, first tried to harass me and offered me a ‘deal’. When I told him I was asked by his colleague to move ahead, he asked me for my licence and documents. When I asked him his rank, he falsely claimed to be a sergeant. When he was told that only a havaldar and someone with a higher rank can issue tickets and was asked to show his three stripes, he had no answer and quietly left.

Karachi needs honest and dedicated traffic police more than better roads and reduction in the number of cars. Will those at the helm of traffic police affairs do the needful?

Naseem Khan
Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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