The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday declared that any vehicle driven by an individual without a license is a ‘killing machine’ and directed concerned authorities to take strict action.
The court also ordered authorities to register First Information Reports (FIRs) against motorists and motorcyclists and arrest the violators if they are driving without a valid license.
In a tragic accident on November 13, six members of a family, including two infants and two women, were killed in Lahore’s DHA locality after their vehicle was hit by an underage driver in a speeding vehicle. The driver, Afnan Shafqat Awan, was taken into custody.
Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi expressed his condolences over the deaths and sought a report from the authorities.
On November 18, reserving a decision, Justice Bajwa issued a two-page order on a plea filed by the accused teenager requesting the court to provide him protection under Article 10-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, allowing him a fair trial and due process.
A statement by the city traffic officer (CTO) in the courtroom revealed that 7.3 million automobiles are plying the roads; however, only 1.3 million vehicles were issued licenses. Flummoxed by the huge difference, the judge questioned what measures is the traffic police taking regarding this matter.
“We have increased license centres from six to 30” the CTO replied. “Three centres have been made functional for 24 hours a day. There are 90 points where we are checking the licenses”in Lahore,” he further added.
Read Two siblings among five dead in road crash
Piqued by the CTO’s response, the judge asked what action is the traffic police taking against parents who allow their children to drive and what measures has the traffic police taken after this accident.
The CTO replied that after incident, police had arrested 988 individuals who were driving sans license.
Justice Bajwa, in his judgment, directed the authorities to prevent such illegal behaviour as it is the fundamental duty of the state to save the lives of the citizens and any slackness in their performance would amount to violating the statutory and constitutional mandate.
“No vehicle or bike without licenses should come on the road, all segments of life must be dealt with equality, no discrimination should be displayed,” said the judge.
The accused, Afnan, had requested the court to provide him protection under Article 10-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 (fair trial and due process).
The plea claimed that Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Ali Naqvi, Lahore CCPO Bilal Saddique Kamyana, DIG Investigation Imran Kishwar, SP Investigation, and other police officials’ were acting against the accused under media influence.
He contended in his petition that the caretaker CM Punjab took notice of this accident and further directed the top police officials to look into the matter based on different news items
The respondents violated the mandatory provisions of law and the mandate of provided by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, illegally and unlawfully added offence under section 302 of PPC and deleted section 322 of PPC. He maintained that no case was made out under section 302 of PPC.
He implored in the petition that in the present case, the respondents have failed to provide him the right of due process and fair trial which are fundamental rights safeguarded under the Constitution.