LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday ordered traffic police to continue its crackdown on underage drivers and warned it against causing any harassment to the law-abiding citizens.

“If an underage driver causes a road accident, the relevant SHO and sector in-charge will be taken to task,” Justice Ali Zia Bajwa remarked during hearing of a petition of Afnan Shafqat, the prime suspect in the DHA car accident that resulted in deaths of six members of a family.

The underage suspect approached the court against alleged harassment by the police and for protection of his right to fair trial.

Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Mustansir Feroze and other police officials appeared before the court.

A provincial law officer told the court that a crackdown was under way against those driving vehicles without licences and as many as 2,986 cases had been registered in three days.

He said joint teams of different wings of police, including dolphin force, had been formed to conduct the operation.

The CTO stated that an awareness campaign was also under way through different modes of communication.

The judge observed that the police should not harass the citizens and if such an act occurred, strict action would be taken.

The petitioner’s lawyer said his friend Ibrahim had also been arrested by the police.

At this, the judge asked the police why the friend had been arrested.

“Will police arrest the whole city now?” Justice Bajwa remarked.

Asked about action taken against the owner of the car, the law officer told the court that the father of the prime suspect owned the vehicle but he secured pre-arrest bail.

The law officer also presented a written statement of the complainant before the court. He said charges of terrorism and murder had been added to the FIR in light of the complainant’s statement.

Justice Bajwa disposed of the petition of the suspect and directed the police to continue its operation against the underage drivers.

Talking to the media, the CTO said more than 4,000 cases had been registered during the crackdown against underage driving. He said hundreds of vehicles had been impounded in police stations and over 16,000 learner permits had been issued in a single day.

He said the city had 30 licencing offices, ten mobile vans, and three 24-hour open centres. He said three new licence centres were being established in the city.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2023

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