KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday came down hard on the provincial authorities and traffic police for not implementing a 2007 order of the Supreme Court regarding plying of heavy traffic in the metropolis and directed the DIG-traffic police to appear before it on Dec 8.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar asked all parties to come prepared on the next hearing to assist the court in a set of petitions filed about the issues of heavy traffic and transport in the city.
The bench noted that the Supreme Court had issued its order in August 2007 banning heavy traffic during the daytime, but still heavy vehicles were seen plying on the city’s roads throughout the day.
Justice Akhtar remarked that the number of people killed in road accidents due to heavy traffic was much higher than those killed in terrorist activities.
He expressed resentment over the authorities for not complying with the apex court’s order despite the passage of around 15 years.
Advocate Abdul Haleem Siddiqui filed power on behalf of Defence Housing Authority (DHA). He and Assistant Advocate General Sagheer Ahmed Abbasi undertook to file comments before the next hearing.
The traffic police in its report placed before the bench stated that it was implementing the apex court’s order regarding restriction on the movement of heavy goods vehicles on the city thoroughfares during daytime.
The report maintained that the traffic police had requested the Karachi commissioner to impose time restriction on movement of heavy goods vehicles plying on roads between 6am and 11pm apart from specified routes already approved by the apex court.
Such restrictions to be imposed via a notification under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code would help the traffic police in dealing with violators, it added.
The traffic police submitted a statement informing the bench about action taken against violators from Nov 11 to Nov 29.
Faisal Bengali and others had moved the SHC in 2017 against the relevant authorities over worsening situation of traffic in Karachi and seeking re-routing of heavy vehicles through non-residential areas as well as improvement in public transports.
The petitioners asked the court to issue directives for the authorities to implement the apex court’s order about heavy traffic and improve public transport and introduce other alternatives to help commuters and reduce the burden on the existing transport.
Earlier, the SHC had observed that the best meaningful outcome and resolution of the problems and the issues highlighted in these petitions can only be resolved in an excellent manner once all relevant governmental authorities sit together and after hearing the point of view of the stakeholders develop a viable plan for its strict and austere implementation.
It had directed the authorities to hold meetings with all other relevant governmental departments and the stakeholders and submit a route plan to this court for its proper implementation as well as resolve the issue of land for the proposed truck and bus stand.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022