The police forces of Pakistan come in for considerable criticism, often rightly so. Corrupt, inefficient, part of the problem rather than part of the solution — but they are not always in the wrong, and there are times when they are clearly doing the job as per description and the public do not like it. Not all members of the public to be sure, and there will be many that deplore the reports of attacks on the police at Chandni Chowk by people who have had their motorbikes impounded for a variety of traffic law infringements. Two people were injured in the attack, including a traffic warden, and five of the attackers were arrested.
In this instance the police have our complete support. The majority of ‘bikes impounded were taken in because they were being used to do ‘wheelies’, an inherently unsafe practice for both the rider and anybody else be they a car driver or a pedestrian that happens to be in the way if the rider loses control. There will be those that argue that this is merely youthful exuberance and that may be so. It is also grossly irresponsible and unlawful. On Thursday 15th June a traffic warden was shot and wounded after he intercepted two youths doing a ‘wheelie’. This goes some way beyond ‘youthful exuberance’ and into the dark realms of attempted murder — murdering a traffic warden for being stopped for a traffic offence is unacceptable in any society.
The roads of Pakistan are unsafe enough without the added ingredient of wheelies to raise the hazard quotient. Gathering a mob and inciting violence against the police going about their lawful duty in protection of the general public is also unacceptable, and illustrative of a mindset that has little but contempt for the law. With a long Eid approaching, a time of joy and celebration, it is only to be expected that there is going to be an increased traffic flow everywhere in the country. Wheelie riders are a curse and contribute to the national count of death and injury on the roads.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2017.