The Pakistani driving license and its worth

My twin brother has been to many countries of the world due to his job. Places such as U.A.E, Thailand, the Netherlands, etc. Everywhere he went, the story was the same. Pakistani driving license was not acceptable there at all. If you want a driving license, you had to start from zero, do their tests, attend classes, etc. depending on the place you are in. It should not be a surprise to us why our driving license carries no worth worldwide. When he asked me why was that so, the following few things came into my mind.

The recent automotive accident between a truck and a bus, in which more than 50 people lost their lives, is a testimony to this fact. People do not care if their vehicle is overcrowded, whether the brakes need servicing, whether the road condition is deplorable and they should slow down, whether there is fog in front and they should be extra cautious, let alone the driving license. A majority of our drivers have no driving sense at all. They may take the car from point A to point B, but in actual, they cannot drive a car properly. For which needs an understanding of traffic rules, some safety sense, etc.

Most of us have gone through the ordeal of getting a driving license here. When I was getting a driving license, the traffic police center was set outside Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. There were some  traffic symbols on a board (about 100) and someone told that there would be a test of these soon followed by a driving test. I tried my level best to memorize each symbol, but some were tricky to be honest. Anyways when it was my turn, the traffic police guy pointed to a simple U-Turn symbol and asked me. I replied after 0.2 seconds (take into account reaction time) and my test was ‘Passed’. Some people who had connections or ‘PAWWA’ did not even go through this formality.

Now towards the driving test. We were told to reverse a car into a place marked by orange cones. We had to reverse in one go, and look through side view mirrors without tilting our necks backward. Here I would like to ask the authorities that do they really think driving a car no more than 10 feet make you a good driver? What about driving forward or driving in the traffic? If driving backward is the only criteria for a good driver then God help our people. Also, I saw two women there who came with a Traffic warden, another PAWWA. He said to the women, “please reverse the car for two feet in front of this person and you are good to go.” The first woman barely did it after putting in much effort and the second woman, she could not even engage the reverse gear properly. After the gearbox started making all sorts of noises, the warden came to her and told her “No problem” and she passed the test. Wow!

This is the status of driving license in our country. No wonder other countries do not recognize it. Our authorities are requested to employ strict driving test measures as is prevalent worldwide. No PAWWA should be entertained as the same PAWWA could very well take a life in the next traffic accident. Do this step and show it to the world, and maybe, after a few years, our driving license would get international recognition as well.

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

  • Syed

    Pakistan International Driving Licence is accepted in UAE, Thailand, Canada but you can drive Rent a Car only till you are on visit / tourist visa. (try to know the facts before writing).

    Regarding Pakistan Regular Driving License if your license is original and older then 5 years then the number of classes required to take driving license abroad is reduced usually 50 % depending upon which country you are landing.

  • mohsin malik

    Dear Mujtaba,

    @Syed has rightly stated, you can rent-a-car in most of the countries around the world by presenting Pakistan International driving permit however this relaxation is for visitors. Once you are resident i.e. have resident visa issued you need local license. This rule applies to most Asian countries not only Pakistan.

  • Ahsen Khokhar

    Our driving license (Islamabad license) is valid in countries like KSA,Turkey and UK.
    I have rented cars and driven them on my grey isb license and there was no problem.
    All you need is a license which is printed in english and has a driving license number your photo and your CNIC number on it.

    Try using it as ur international license, it works

    Never gave me a problem.I have lived in UK for 4 years and i drove on it every time i rented a car.

  • Ahsen Khokhar

    We can drive as a tourist for one year in the UK thats how much I know.
    and your one year starts from the day you enter in UK

  • Guest

    Actually it happens that Pakistanis are good drivers in foreign countries. It generally means that Pakistanis are law-abiding and fine personalities in places where a good system is present. Because of the courteous driving behavior of overseas Pakistanis, Pakistani driving license has a good value abroad.

    Note: As mentioned in another comment, international driving permit is only valid for visit/tourist visa (only in countries which have signed the treaty for International Driving Permit, unless the country unilaterally supports IDP). Once you are on residence visa, you need to get a local license.