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The roads of death in Pakistan

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Abdul Rehman Malik |

The abysmal and dilapidated condition of National Highways presents a grim picture, causing frequent mishaps resulting loss of precious lives including man, women, and children. The situation calls for immediate dualization of highways and deployment of National Highways and Motorways police to control over speeding, rash driving especially diverting heavy traffic to alternate locations so that smaller vehicles may not face the ill-fated accidents.

The transportation of goods is considered the lucrative business in Pakistan as it is being done at a large scale. There are many heavy traffic vehicles such as the small and big trucks, trawlers containers and oil tankers. The biggest company that deals with huge logistic operations are National Logic Cell popularly known as NLC. It carries the most of logistic operations along with few other operatives of such business.

The overtaking has more chances for the accident as N55 is the single road and had swallowed over 200 lives last year and so far, N55 has gobbled 150 lives this year.

The condition of highways is very poor as these are bumpy, broken and having cracks at most of the parts. Even the sides are too narrow to that extent that two large vehicles cannot cross at the same time.

People using public transport always board the vehicles such as vans, blue lines, and rickshaws by holding their breath when these cross any huge vehicle such as fast-moving Blue Line, a trawler, or oil tanker. Sometimes there is a narrow escape from possible accidents.

It is ironic that the NHA collects over 2000 million per year through its so-called toll plazas but we have not seen any major repairs of the highways throughout Pakistan especially in Sindh where death always looms around the small vehicle owners and motorists. The NHA & Motorways Police is always seen missing from the scenes and there are no safety instructions or boards along the Highways as mostly these are displayed along the highways; reduce the speed as there is a town ahead, there is diversion, under construction, bridge, a dangerous interchange, single carriage road due to maintenance and other boards.

Read more: Pakistan road crash kills 18: police

The NHA Police have never been seen guiding the drivers regarding safety instructions to help minimize dangers but they are very quick to challan the vehicles if caught violating the speed limits.

The drivers have issued licenses without conducting any driving skills test so that only qualified and skilled persons may be issued LTV and HTV licenses. The minors belonging to elite class drive cars, jeeps, Prado, bikes and their frequent overspeeding and rash driving cause several terrible accidents.

The other bad practice committed by these elites include one wheeling that is very dangerous and several youths have lost their lives during one wheeling as the bikes go out of their control while one wheeling thus these riders are pushed by oils tankers, trawlers or fast moving Blue lines to the deathbed. The occurrence of such severe mishaps is mostly caused due to two narrow lanes since there are no separators or dividers between them that may help in smooth crossing.

The biggest company that deals with huge logistic operations are National Logic Cell popularly known as NLC. It carries the most of logistic operations along with few other operatives of such business.

On single highways like N55 from Shikarpur to Rajanpur, it is estimated that every month an average 15 to 20 people lose their lives due to the mistake of the public transport drivers, oil tankers drivers or the blue lines drivers. The overtaking has more chances for the accident as N55 is the single road and had swallowed over 200 lives last year and so far, N55 has gobbled 150 lives this year.

Pakistan is among few countries where the number of road accidents is very high warranting the Government to pay heed towards the problem and make the highways safer for the public so that the number of deaths may be minimized through the adoption of road safety measures and educating people regarding the traffic rules especially to the drivers of public transport, goods transport vehicles.

Read more: A Nation’s obsession with speed breakers

The appraising of traffic rules and road safety measure will play a vital role in helping the Government to bring the figures of frequent road accidents down.

I still remember that how a doctor lost his life along with his whole family while returning from Karachi by his car. The Car had a head-on collision with an oil tanker and was crushed under the tanker and none of the family members survived; that was really very tragic for its relatives as well.

Such incidents raise several questions about the risk of heavy traffic using the same tracks and causing frequent casualties due to narrow lanes where public transport drivers escape at hair’s breadth.

Read more: Islamabad Traffic Police introduces traffic awareness campaign

Furthermore, there is strong need to establish rescue centers at every 20 to 30 Kilometers or at cities on the highways so that seriously and partially injured people may be shifted to nearby hospitals on time and the life of maximum people may be saved.

Pakistan must follow international road safety procedures as practiced worldwide to minimize traffic accidents. Finally, NHA& Motorway police must increase its patrolling along the road and monitor the spending limits on the highways and motorways throughout Pakistan so that risks for unfortunate accidents may be minimized and the citizens must be provided awareness regarding the traffic rules.

Abdul Rahman Malik is a Policy Researcher, Governance Specialist and Development Sector Professional having worked for Asian Development Bank and other National and International Development Organizations. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.