Discrimination at the hands of Traffic Wardens in Lahore

discrimination traffic warden lahore

When the new traffic warden initiative was launched by the Government of Punjab some years ago, it was thought by many (including myself) that the new wardens would finally bring ‘Change’ to the old system of traffic policing. They would be competent, professional and above all, friendly.

For a time, the plan actually worked. People reported that the new wardens were better than their predecessors. Most refused the usual bribe from people to buy their way out of a ticket. They also helped motorists on the road, such as pushing cars, replacing tyres of cars driven by ladies and so on.

Sadly, our typical traffic warden culture caught up to them as well. I had some recent experiences with them that finally changed my opinion about them. One of them is as follows, with which many of us can relate to.

I was coming back from the movies the other day on M.M. Alam Road, Lahore. The cinema is near a roundabout (Hussain Chowk). The road has no turning points except for the two roundabouts at each end, and taking a U-Turn is not allowed on them. There are signs placed forbidding this as well. If you have to take a U-Turn, you would have to go all the way over the roundabout into the opposite lane.

As we all know, our nation is a master of shortcuts, and many people ignore the sign and still make a U-Turn from there, where the Traffic Wardens wait for them with the ticket books ready. I saw a few Mehrans, Corollas and even some 660cc cars held up by the wardens in a short span of time. Nobody was allowed to go (and rightly so) without a chit. There were 3 traffic wardens with their bikes, busy in distributing violation tickets when the real event took place. An Audi came rushing from the other side of the road, did a mini drift on the forbidden U-Turn, and came to our side (of the wardens). The wardens saw this entire mini-series of Fast and the Furious, yet did not try to stop the car or even chase it. He (the Audi driver) was allowed to go just because he had an Audi.

Why this discrimination? Just because a person owns an expensive vehicle, does not give him the right to break the rules. Do the traffic laws of our country apply on the common man or relatively less expensive vehicles only?

The traffic wardens have a target of issuing a set number of ‘Challans’ every month, which they must hand out. What if people are ACTUALLY obeying the traffic rules? How will they meet their targets then? This is more or less robbing the motorists under protection of the law, much like the over-billing of electrical bills from the common man to ‘meet the targets’.

The traffic authority higher-ups are also to blame. They should be strong enough to withstand pressures from people of influence and defend their wardens. Wardens should have the liberty and power to even stop and fine the Prime Minister of Pakistan without fear of any consequences. The target system should be re-considered and should be based on fines on actual violations, rather than stacking on numbers. Even if the wardens have to hand over one Challan per month, they should be free to do so, without any pressure/fear from their higher-ups. A person driving a Suzuki FX or a Mercedes S Class should not be a concern for the Traffic Wardens; both should be stopped if they violate a traffic rule.

Only this way the working and service delivery of our Traffic Wardens will improve to acceptable levels. Otherwise, if you plan on deviant driving, better sit behind the steering wheel of a luxury vehicle.

Mujtaba Abbas

In a parallel world, Mujtaba a.k.a MJ is an avid Environmentalist and a Public Servant. In this realm he is a die hard automotive enthusiast who seeks to create awareness in the minds of the readers and sincerely believes "Tabdeeli aanay hi waali hai :P

  • Rizwan Qureshi

    I am also witness about this corrupt system of wardens, got challan at Kalma Chowk Lahore, still not sure why, but to avoid debate and to save my time asked warden to challan me. After challan got 4 days of holidays of moharam last month. When banks opened due to long queue of challan payments could not pay challan, any how on 9th day of my challan including all holidays and standing in long queue of my challan was paid. Now next step to get documents back went to traffic office at extreme odd place that was old sabzi mandi behind arfa technology park, again stood in long queue, when my turn was about to come, officer closed window that time is over now you need to come tomorrow. I told him that its 10th day and if i did not get my documents you will send my documents to Court he insisted that i need to come tomorrow in the end he told me that he will not send my documents to court. Next day when i visited to office he refused me that i am not going to return your documents. I again told him he promised me yesterday and he told me that no now you need to get from court. I told him my challan was paid in-time he said me but i will send to court what so ever now. i asked him where is your duty officer he told me go there and after waiting of an hour a officer came seen me and sent other man with me that ask officer to return documents. Interestingly officer in returning cabin refused his officer orders and said i am not going to return. At the end of long debates with his officer in my presence officer told me i can’t help you. You need to go to court. Later i realized officer was expecting some cash which i was reluctant to offer because i already paid the challan.

    Any way and i went to court and when i seen long queue, a tout agent met me he said me sir give me penalty money and additional 100 Rs. [note i already paid], i will get your document in 3 minutes. Now i thought to save my time given him money and believe me i got my documents in less than 3 minutes. Took it and thought i could save my time by not paying in bank and and traffic office by paying double challan and 100 Rs additional .

  • Mujtaba very nice article…i have witnessed the same and was really wishing that someone might take it up…also they are no more friendly and helping…sirf targets achieve kar rahe hain k ziada se ziada challan karoo.

  • bilal ahmad

    This discrimination is because we as a nation are like this…. majority discriminates minority.
    You have ended the blog very nicely. That sums it up. Thief’s thugs and hypocrites rule this Country.
    “The Land Of Pure” we are. Shame on us.

  • Geekpk

    Behavior of the police is pathetic – like they never stop big cars with tinted windows but only small cars.

  • khuram

    Fully agree with the writer. Same thing happens here in Pindi/Islamabad as well.

  • Sandtiger

    Thanks for bringing this into our notice, this is one of the most hideous system to get your license back. I feel sorry for everyone as authorities are promoting bribery as otherwise it’s not difficult to streamline these procedures. In-order to discourage bribery, they should allow the collection of fine on spot on a proper receipt issued from warden. Warden should have rule book concerning the violation which should be showed to the violator as rule before fining as entire purpose of fining is
    educating and correcting the public that law is supreme and will be withheld rather than conveying a message that we are corrupt, dishonest and not loyal to our own country. Fine amount be reduced to rupees 50 to 100, warden be authorized even to fine people who drive slow on high speed lane and
    fast on slow speed lane. Give public a feel that law is supreme, simple and easy to be followed.

  • Muhammad Akbar Ashraf

    These new wardens are the culture of our traffic police when never changed. They’ve changed their uniforms but not the attitude. All rikshaw drivers are allowed to lover load and disobey all the traffic laws but they are caught only once a day to increase number of challans. After that they are free for all traffic violations. They take bribe; have gossips; do not control traffic and just focus on challans.

  • Jazib Ensar

    At one point I differ from this article opinion because I have seen a Prado, audi, mercedeez even a range rover being given a slip by warden in dha.
    I look very young so I get stopped by warden more often and I always wear seat belt so they suspect me more which is weird but I kept my self bound to the traffic law so when ever I get pulled over and asked that how old are you and do you have a license and yes I do have it and a legal one so I don’t get challan but they try to find a way to hand you a ticket but they fail in my case.I drive mehran so some how case proven.but I have also posted a thread on the licensing system of Pakistan that its not very efficient nor use full as the L shape drive test does not determine your road sense nor skill.

  • @jazibensar:disqus you posted a thread on forums?

  • Jazib Ensar

    Yes. It’s named “distribution of license legally is useless. Doesn’t determine your road skill”

  • john walti

    tabdeelitabdeeli aur sirf tabdeeli

  • @Jazib can you share the link ?

  • Jazib Ensar