Highway ‘robbery’

Recently, I was travelling in a taxi from Hyderabad to Karachi. At the toll plaza in Karachi, the traffic police stopped the vehicle and asked for documents. The driver handed over all the relevant documents to the officials. After examining the documents, including the driving licence, one policeman told the driver that since he did not own the vehicle or had an authority letter, he could not drive the vehicle. He threatened the driver to be ready for a penalty worth Rs10,000, or his vehicle would be taken to some police station.

The poor diver started begging for mercy, saying he had all the documents and the policeman should let him go. The police personnel asked the driver to come out of the vehicle to have ‘negotiations’. The driver obeyed the ‘order’ and later told me the official demanded Rs2,000 as bribe, and he finally let him move ahead only after settling for Rs1,000.

This was a highway ‘robbery’ by those who are supposed to enforce the law of the land. Poor taxi and rickshaw drivers are deprived of their daily earnings by these ‘robbers’ in traffic police uniforms. Those who have small vehicles are also robbed the same way every day. However, those from the elite class travelling in large, luxury vehicles are never stopped or questioned even when they break traffic laws.

Can one hope to see some action from senior police officials in this regard?

The word on the street is that even they allegedly get their fair share from the highway ‘robberies’ committed by their subordinates. Really? Is that true?



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