The VIP culture is a part of daily routine in Pakistan. No matter which government is ruling the country, the rule of law is different for elites and the middle and lower middle classes.
Same is the norm in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi where VIPs continue to carry vehicles with tinted glasses. Neither the Punjab Traffic Police nor the Islamabad Traffic Police took any action against vehicles with tinted glasses.
Despite tall claims of eliminating the VIP culture by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the VIPs enjoy an exclusive treatment in both the cities. Even in the backdrop of the threat of terrorism, no action has yet been taken against vehicles with tinted glasses. Vehicles with tinted glasses are seen roaming through the capital roads without a check.
The law is supposed to be equal for all citizens but on the roads of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it is not really the case. Vehicles with tinted or covered glasses are not only causing traffic obstruction but also violating the law openly and challenging the traffic police’s writ.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a taxi driver in Islamabad, Rehan Satti said most of the car owners with shaded glasses are part of the elite having a special number plate. Some of them, he said, have the name of a political party or their designation on their number plates so the traffic police do not dare to stop them. He further added that a normal citizen does not dare to violate laws openly on roads; only people with a strong connection can do so. Abdullah, a car owner, said: “I was given a challan three years ago and I changed the glasses of my car after that .But every day I witness cars with tinted glasses on the road because I am a common citizen with no approach. I feel utter discrimination when I see others can have cars with tinted glasses, but I cannot.”
The challan amount for tinted glassed cars is Rs 300. Pakistan Today spoke to SSP Malik Matloob of Islamabad Traffic Police. He said traffic police is determined to act against the car owners with shaded glasses. The traffic police of Islamabad are issuing challans on a daily basis against cars with tinted glasses , he added.
SSP Malik provided the summary of challans of the month in which there were enough number of challans done by traffic police to cars with shaded glasses. On the question asked on VIP culture and citizens’ reluctance to follow the instructions and misbehaving with the traffic police, SSP provided Pakistan Today with the FIRs which were registered by the traffic police against such culprits. The total number of FIRs is 28 which were registered by Islamabad Traffic Police in different police stations of Islamabad.
Najib, another official from Islamabad, showed a video in which a citizen was abusing and hitting an old age traffic warden while the warden was behaving in a completely appropriate manner. The culprit citizen in the video was behind bars, he confirmed. He further added it was traffic police’s obligation to control the traffic and make sure the citizens are following the traffic rules. But if a warden issues a challan to a citizen for breaking the law, the citizen thinks the warden is getting personal so they get personal with the traffic warden, while the traffic police are just performing their duty, he added.
A proper crackdown must be done against cars with tinted glasses in the wake of the security situation in the country in order to finish off VIP culture on roads.