ISLAMABAD, March 26: Traffic police officers piloting the VIP motorcades have been directed not to violate speed limits despite pressure from the top officials. Talking to Dawn Sultan Azam Taimuri, Senior Superintendent of Islamabad Model Traffic Police (SSP), said police pilots escorting federal ministers, diplomats, governors, and chief ministers have been told they would be fined if they broke the law.

And if the VIP exhorts them to hurry up and ignore the speed limit, the pilots should simply leave the VIP’s squad and report the matter to the authorities concerned, the SSP said.

SSP Taimuri said that 24 ministers, 19 members of National Assembly, seven senators, 88 diplomats, 43 senior government officers, 73 armed forces officers and 13 senior police officers had been caught and fined for violating traffic rules since the new traffic police went into action on February 10.

In all 40,000 vehicles have been challaned so far and on the average 1,200 violators are caught every day. But the punitive fines were showing results as traffic violations have reduced in the capital, according to police sources.

In some cases the chauffeurs of ministers and parliament members claimed they had to pay the fines for violations they were made to commit by their ‘Sahib’ who considered himself above the law.

SSP Taimuri said the strict enforcement of rules should not be seen as police high-handedness but as an effort to educate public in proper driving habits.

Complaints being received against traffic police officials were not of serious nature but were investigated and action was taken against those found guilty, he said.

Some of the citizens approached by Dawn for comments charged that the traffic police was ‘abnormally strict’ in applying the rules because it gets 25 per cent share in the fine it collects. They also alleged that traffic police officers misbehave when the violators go to them to reclaim their documents.

SSP Taimuri assured strict action against such officers but denied that police gets a cut in the fines. Such a proposal was sent to the authorities but a decision was still awaited.

Taxi drivers feel most victimised by the traffic police for they are challaned even for parking their vehicles on self made taxi stands, like the ones at Pindora, Zero Point, Peshawar Mor and Abpara.

Taxi driver Azam Khan told Dawn that he and his six friends were fined Rs800 each for waiting for passengers at Pindora - an amount they earn in two or three days.

APP adds: The Islamabad Model Traffic Police (IMTP) has decided to increase the strength of women in the new set up.

“Ministry of Interior has formally approved the induction of 50 policewomen in IMTP while this strength will be increased,” SSP Taimuri said.

He said, one lady superintendent, one inspector and 10 constables were already serving in the ITP.

He said more policewomen of various ranks would be inducted in traffic police whether on deputation or be fresh recruitment.

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