Robust enforcement, increased fines lead to substantial drop in traffic violations in Islamabad

he stringent enforcement of traffic rules, combined with an increase in fine amounts, has resulted in a significant reduction in traffic violations in Islamabad.
In an exclusive interview with APP, Chief Traffic Officer Islamabad Muhammad Sarfraz Virk revealed that the city witnessed a considerable reduction in violations, with a reported decrease of 38,000 cases in October and November 2023 compared to the same period last year.
He attributed this decline to the increased fine amount and registration of FIRs against serious violations, especially those involving underage drivers and one-way violations.
This positive trend is also attributed to enhanced cooperation from the public, driven by increased fines and comprehensive road safety campaigns, he added.
Sarfraz Virk, who assumed the charge as Chief Traffic Officer on September 28, 2023, emphasized the critical need for additional resources to further enhance road safety in the city.
Proposing a strategic plan to fortify the Islamabad Traffic Police, Mr. Virk highlighted the submission of a proposal for increased resources, including the allocation of additional personnel and divisions.
Currently managing with a workforce of 685 personnel, the proposal aims to secure eight divisions, encompassing extra DSPs, vehicles, bikes, and lifters.
Chief Traffic Officer expressed optimism, anticipating that the competent authority’s approval would provide essential resources, significantly bolstering the traffic police’s capacity to manage the dynamic traffic scenario in Islamabad.
Muhammad Sarfraz Virk highlighted the commitment of Islamabad police under the guidance of Islamabad Capital City Police Officer (ICCPO) Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan to raise awareness about traffic rules and ensure a safe road environment in the capital.
To a query, he detailed efforts to educate road users, install special signboards, and conduct awareness campaigns in government offices, private institutions, and educational institutions. The priority, he stated, is to ensure smooth traffic flow and promptly address severe violations, he maintained.
He emphasized the modernization initiatives adopted by the Islamabad Traffic Police during the tenure of ICCPO Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan to meet public expectations. These include the introduction of a streamlined one-window operation for obtaining driving licenses, the implementation of an efficient e-challan system, and the use of social media and FM radio (92.4) for public awareness.
He also revealed a system notifying license holders one month before the expiry of their licenses.
Chief Traffic Officer stressed the strict action being taken against tinted glass vehicles, with overall clear instructions from the Interior Minister and Prime Minister to ensure equal implementation of the law.
He explained the issuance of fine tickets, removal of black papers, and the initiation of action against shopkeepers pasting these papers.
Mr Virk detailed the efforts of police to curb route violations, overcharging of fares, and one-wheeling by youngsters. FIRs are registered against one-wheelers, with enforcement underway to instill awareness and responsibility.
He urged parents to cooperate in preventing such dangerous practices, emphasizing the safety of both the one-wheelers and other road users.
The Chief Traffic Officer addressed concerns related to smog and smoke-emitting vehicles, emphasizing coordination with environmental authorities.
He stressed that a courteous attitude and the equitable application of the law serve as the guiding principles for the Islamabad Traffic Police.
Highlighting the robust internal accountability system within the police force, he underscored its strength compared to other civil departments. Islamabad police have its internal accountability branch, and various forums exist for lodging complaints in case of any misconduct by policemen. Officers diligently investigate complaints, taking prompt action against erring police officials.
For the convenience of the public, he said that the 15 or the ICT15 app is available for lodging such complaints. Thorough inquiries are conducted, and if a policeman is found guilty, departmental action is initiated, and criminal proceedings are pursued in cases of criminal acts.
The Chief Traffic Officer highlighted the comprehensive support system in place for injured or deceased policemen. Under the AIG and ‘Shuhada Wing’, a dedicated welfare wing operates to address their needs.
With contributions from the Prime Minister Assistance Package and additional departmental support, the wounded individuals and families of the deceased as well as martyred personnel receive extensive assistance.
The children of such personnel are provided job opportunities, ensuring they have access to the best educational facilities and other necessary support measures. Police officers maintain ongoing communication with the families, ensuring continuous support and assistance for their well-being, he added.
To a question, he mentioned that traffic halts at Rawat from 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm daily on the Islamabad Highway to enhance the convenience of road users.
The ongoing road engineering initiatives are expected to address this matter on the Islamabad Highway once the construction is completed. To mitigate the issue, he proposed the establishment of a service road alongside the Islamabad Expressway, specifically designed to accommodate motorcyclists and other road users.
He said that speech contests among students about road safety temporarily halted, would resume shortly, anticipating a significantly positive impact. Emphasizing the potential for even greater influence, he suggested that incorporating traffic rules into educational syllabi would further amplify the positive outcomes.
Chief Traffic Officer said the trend of obtaining a traffic license is on the rise following strict implementation measures, with an increasing number of people visiting the traffic office.
Highlighting the streamlined process of acquiring a driving license, the Chief Traffic Officer mentioned that the Islamabad Traffic Police is issuing licenses in a minimal amount of time, as compared to the other cities.
He mentioned that a special deployment is in place, and stakeholders, including transporters, have been actively engaged to address the issue of traffic mess near bus stations. He affirmed that Islamabad Traffic Police is dedicated to ensuring a secure road environment, and its entire staff is devoted to providing the best facilities to citizens.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga