Lessons for Pakistani mayors
March 30, 2019
Life as a citizen
March 30, 2019

Dear DIG traffic, 22 November 2014
1. Thank you for the presentation on traffic initiatives, that was sent by your office to me and five other citizens. It is heartening to note that you are taking personal interest in identifying the problems and seeking solutions relating to traffic management.
2. As we are not a formal group, all six of us will perhaps have different and even contradictory views on issues relating to traffic, vehicles and traffic related policing. The views expressed in this e mail are only my personal views and would perhaps make any sense only when all others have also chipped in.
3. As a citizen, my views and concerns on policing come from many different angles. They relate to matters such as:
a. Issues relating to lack of protection of citizens from routine and frequent street crime.
b. Issues relating to lack of protection of citizens from major crimes like killing, kidnapping or bhatta.
c. Issues relating to police involvement in protection of VIPs (policemen and police vehicles) at the cost of ordinary citizens.
d. Issues relating to police having become a subservient and personal security force of the political rulers and not being able to take a professional stand on inappropriate interventions.
e. Issues relating to complete helplessness of police in checking thousands of vehicles on the road that do not pay taxes and are unregistered, smuggled, carry fake number plates, foreign number plates, impersonating number plates , personalized number plates or no number plates.
f. Absence and distrust by police for scientific (technology based) and efficient processes that can enable the police to check these crimes.
g. A corrupt and inefficient system of executing traffic Challans and vehicle lifting challans. A recent study tells us that out of 100 incidents of traffic challans, the police was willing to let go the individuals in 80 percent cases, if they were to cough out a bribe for a few hundred rupees.
h. Focus on VIP traffic management rather than traffic management for the public.

4. I think that any process of reform:
a. needs to take a holistic view of these issues
b. needs to begin by first articulating (in details ) all aspects of the process under reform, and seeking a consensus on it.
c. Include full participation of other departments such as range police, E&T, and ACLC
d. Should differentiate between optics and institutional reforms
e. Should include participation of apolitical citizens. It may be best to place ads in newspapers seeking participation of citizens who have the necessary time and ability to contribute.

5. Finally there is a need to seek alternate and environment friendly solutions to fight our traditional problems. Some, which are being used all over the world are:
a. Declare parts of the city as NO VEHICLE zones – meant only for pedestrians and cyclists.
b. Build exclusive cycle paths and encourage cycling from one place to another. Many cities now have well developed ‘rent a cycle’ programs.
c. Develop “park and Ride’ zones, away from the dense areas where people park their cars and then ride a bus to go into the main parts of the city. (Oxford and Cambridge are good examples.)
d. Do not fall into the “Ideal” and “ground reality” trap. This has been used as a pretext for not making progress in Pakistan for the past 67 years.
Warm regards
Naeem Sadiq