Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dis-empowerment of the District

Dis-empowerment of the District

By Asad Jehangir

In order to understand the failure of administration, there is a need to study the history of disempowerment of civil and police services in Pakistan under the rule of both the Military dictators and the politicians. My view is that the system created by the British to administer India has been weakened over time by disempowerment of all district officers. The decision-making has gone to the provincial government and district officers are no longer in a position to provide services to the people.

The police was first emasculated immediately after the uprising in 1857. The power of police to investigate every penal offense was withdrawn. Instead the British brought into its partnership the local Zamindar and a close nexus was established between him and the state through the police and magistracy. Laws were promulgated to achieve this nexus and disempowerment of police was part of this new dispensation.

The next attack on police came from Ayub Khan who took two steps to further weaken the police. First he struck at its capacity to deal with disorder by taking away the Border Police from the province and abolishing the Provincial Reserves. Second, he severed what little links police had with the community. This was done to justify the creation of the Union Council in his infamous Basic Democracy Scheme. Two services which police provided to the community i.e. management of cattle pounds and keeping a record of births and deaths were handed over to the UC.

Ayub Khan also changed the police uniform from khaki to mazri not to improve its image but merely to emphasize the exclusivity of the army; not to reform the police but to emphasize its predatory reputation. Resultantly, the image of the police went on a slide. It was a fresh maneuver to perpetuate the policing style designed by the British in the 18th century-a corrupt and predatory police which would instill fear in the populace.

Just like the police, the DC has also been gradually disempowered. First, when the High Courts were given powers to issue writs in 1951. No longer could he hold people in custody without answering to the HC.

While in the police a DSP was sanctioned to assist the SP (larger districts got an Addl. SP as well) a decision which also had wider repercussions specially on police culture, the DC was given two Addl DCs. One, designated as ADC(Gen), looked after administration while the other designated as ADC(R) dealt with revenue administration. Just like the DSP removed the SP a step away from the working of the police station, the ADC(R) removed the DC one step away from the revenue administration.

The second blow was inflicted when the power to resolve disputes was given to the Union Council by Ayub Khan. With this dispensation the interaction of the magistrate with the community was severed. The magistrate was left with those few disputes which were referred to him by the police under the provisions of Section 150/151 CrPC.

The third blow to the powers of the DM and the magistrate came under the amendments made in CrPC in 1972 vide the much touted Law Reform. This considerably weakened the DM’s authority of oversight over criminal cases. The magistrate lost control over serious, sessions-triable cases when the Commitment Procedure was deleted from the law. The old system of police-magistracy ‘harmony’ was dealt a severe blow.

The DC was finally dealt a fatal blow by ZAB through the so called administrative reform under which the Unified Grade system placed him at the lowest rung amongst the senior management. The Secretary to the Province was two grades above him and he managed to completely takeover the control of his departmental reps in the District. The DC was no longer in a position to oversee the various departments working in the District.

The Commissioner became two grades junior to the Chief Secretary and this gradually altered the original administrative design under which the senior member of the board of revenue played an important role in keeping the Commissioner and the DC focussed on their primary task of managing the Revenue Administration.

The arrangement that emerged after the administrative reform completely disempowered the DC. Gradually, beginning with Zia, all matters dealt at the district came to be handled directly by the Provincial Secretariat. The Board of Revenue gradually assumed all the authority of the DC and made him powerless in the matters of land management.

The DC’s control over the Patwari had been considerably weakened when Ayub Khan as President and Nawab of Kalabagh as Governor deigned to continue with the colonial system of paying indulgence to their local patwaris. I distinctly recall that in 1974 when Ali Kazim, as DC Campbellpur, took some patwaris to task, there was a strike in the whole of Punjab by this predatory fraternity. It was resolved only when the felonious patwaris were reinstated by the government.

After the declaration that agriculturists with less than 12 1/2 acres of land will not be liable for payment of land revenue, the DC’s role as Collector was also over. Very few land owners had land over this limit. Those who did were beyond the sway of the DC!

So what was the role of the DC in this changed scenario? It is said that Ayub Khan had emphasized on the role of DC in development work. This was ingrained in the design of the Basic Democracy Scheme. What kind of schemes could be undertaken by the District Councils? Under the development process all schemes upwards of a given value had to be approved by the Provincial Government or the Federal Government and the funds were then allocated from there. Only small schemes could be initiated at the district level.

Ultimately, the DC’s role was that of overseeing implementation of schemes and directives. He went around checking the progress of development schemes which had been sanctioned by a government or authority far removed from the community. Schemes were ‘dispensed’ by persons in power without any input from the community. Take education for example. Having been nationalized and with administration vested in the provincial secretary, the DC no longer had the role of motivating the community to establish a school or college.

The subsequent control over development schemes, especially schools, in the hands of parliamentarians which was started by Zia to bribe them for their support, and which has now become a recognized system for development schemes is a clear indicator of the “flight of power from the district”. And we all know how this system promoted corruption and wrongdoing in the Education Department!

Taking into consideration the above measures initiated both by dictators and parliamentarians one can see quite clearly how a district model created by the British was gradually altered and powers vested in the DC were withdrawn by the Province.

Can the old model be revived? My view is that it will not happen. The politician is quite happy with a system which he can manipulate to his advantage. The judiciary is too busy asserting its independence to permit the return of the DM.

Perhaps we need to study the system of land management from a new perspective and consider replacing this much touted Sher Shah Suri creation. While designing the new nizam we should, as a first principle, consider empowering the village community. This can be done by making the village responsible for the maintenance of land record. This was after all the foundation on which Sher Shah Suri’s system was established.

In 1848, the rallying cry of the people in ousting the King was: “All power to the Commune”. The rallying cry in our case should be: “All power to the village”.

The writer is a retired Inspector General of Police

Monday, February 6, 2012

Road Safety Karachhi-2010

Road Safety Karachi-2010

By

Asad Jahangir Khan

Road Traffic Injury Research Center has, in its fifth year, come out with road injury figures for the year 2010. With financial backing of Indus Motors it is being run by the staff and students of the NED University. The Aga Khan University Hospital is also closely associated in this project especially in the study of trauma related services.

The project strategy is to collect data from five major hospitals that deal with road injury cases. Thirty five research assistants collect the data which is then compiled and analyzed in the center located in JPMC. Data shows that 38.00% of all injured road users were transported to hospitals by ambulance whereas 34.00% were carried by ambulances in 2008. Although this shows an improvement in ambulance service, there is still an urgent need to improve trauma related ambulance service.

Road injury data collected by RTIRC gives us a picture which is very different from the data available with the Police. The police get information of injury accidents from the hospitals and investigate the case after registering an FIR. The registration requires a complainant and subsequent legal procedures. Therefore, the number of cases registered is merely a fraction of the actual number of road injury cases brought to the hospitals.

During the year 2010, RTIRC recorded data relating to 30340 persons injured in traffic accidents in Karachi. This gives an average of 2528 road injury cases every month. In addition 1227 fatalities were also recorded during the year at a monthly average of 102.

In contrast the Karachi police registered cases of only 1099 injury and 491 fatalities for the entire year of 2010.This means that 29241 road users injured and 736 road users killed were not brought into the purview of the law and were deprived of third party insurance claims which is a mandatory requirement of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance. Although the hospitals report all injury accidents to police only 3.6% of these reports were converted to FIR. In fatal cases the police registered cases of only 40% of the fatal cases recorded by the hospitals.

There is, therefore, an urgent need for police to change its present policy of dealing with rash and negligent driving resulting in death and injury under the Penal Code. The Motor Vehicle Ordinance is a special law and it would be much more beneficial for road accident victims if this law was applied instead of the Penal Code.

Moreover, violations under the MVO are dealt by Summary Procedure whereas Penal Code violations are substantive violations requiring a time consuming legal procedure. One study shows that it takes at least 30 months for a Penal Code violation to be decided in court. For the above two reasons there is a need to empower traffic police to deal with accident cases in accordance with the provisions contained in the Motor Vehicle Ordinance.

ROAD USER GROUP

Minor Serious Fatal Total

Rider/Pillion Rider 13578 (59%) 3451 (51%) 473 (39%) 17502 (55%)

Pedestrian 5189 (23%) 2065 (28%) 502 (41%) 7756 (25%)

Passenger 2918 (13%) 806 (11%) 148 (12%) 3870 (12%)

Drivers 714 (3%) 234 (4%) 50 (4%) 998 (3%)

Unknown 664 (3%) 723 (10%) 54 (4%) 1441 (5%)

Total 23061 (100%) 7279 (100%) 1227 (100%) 31567 (100%)

An analysis of road users involved in minor injury accidents shows that 59.0% (13578) were riders, 23.0% (5189) were pedestrians, 13.0% (2918) were passengers and 3.0%(714) were drivers.

In serious injury accidents, the involvement of riders was 51 %( 3451), pedestrians 28 % (2065), passengers 11 % ( 806) and drivers 4 % ( 234).

In fatal accidents 39 %( 473) were riders, 41% (502) were pedestrians, 12% (148) were passengers and 4% (50) were drivers.

In the year 2009, riders were involved in 54 %( 16661) injury accidents and in 35 %( 434) fatal accidents. The pedestrians were involved in 22 %( 7134) injury accidents and in 43 % (540) fatal accidents.

The above figures show that the most vulnerable road user groups on the roads of Karachi are riders and pedestrians. The severity index shows that a pedestrian accident is more likely to be fatal. Riders were involved in 54% (17029) of the injury accidents and in 39% (473) fatal accidents, while pedestrian involvement in injury accidents was 23 %( 7254) and 41% (502) in fatal accidents. Looking at it in another way, 7% of the pedestrians involved in accidents were killed whereas 2.7% of the riders involved in accidents were killed.

The traffic managers, therefore, need to focus on these two most vulnerable groups. The pedestrians require good footpaths and safe road crossing facilities to save them from death and injury. Road safety strategies for pedestrians should take into account that 540 pedestrians were killed in 2009 and 502 were killed in 2010. Pedestrian fatalities are too high to ignore this road user.

There is also a need to make bus (including mini-bus) and other heavy vehicles safer for pedestrians and riders. The front part of these vehicles should be soft and steel bumpers or steel additions need to be removed. The bus and truck bumpers are too high up in the body. Its impact with the pedestrian is focused on the lower hip. The body should be so fabricated that it impacts the whole body and throws the pedestrian away from the vehicle. Otherwise the pedestrian is pulled under the vehicle with disastrous consequences.

As far as riders are concerned, the large number of injury accidents reveals that riding skills are poor as most of these are due to slippage and skids. Riders are also not visible to drivers of vehicles especially heavy vehicles in the traffic stream.

There is a need to improve the riding skills of riders through a public-private effort of encouraging off-road riding sports. There is also a need to improve driving tests for riders. The rider’s driving test should be in three parts. The first part should be a rules test. The second part should be a road test and the third part should be off-road riding skills test.

The above chart reveals that only 5% of the riders who were injured were wearing a helmet. Accident statistics reveal that 86% of the fatalities amongst riders were caused by head injury. This means that 407 out of 473 riders, who were killed in road accidents in 2010, died of head injury. Helmet use would have prevented those deaths.

According to age (see chart below) riders (including pillion) in the age group 16 to 35 are the most vulnerable. 564 riders involved in injury accidents were under 15. Riders/pillion riders between the age group 21 to 25 were the most prone to injury accident (3761) followed by riders/pillion riders in the age group 16-20 (3105). This shows lack of driving skills as well as inexperience.

There is a strong case for reducing the driving license eligibility age for riders from 18 to 16. Injury statistics shown above reveal a very large percentage of riders under 18. Lowering the age for obtaining a motor cycle license would bring the youth into the fold of law and make them law abiding.

However, the most effective measure for preventing rider deaths is to make sure that all riders including pillion riders wear a helmet. In 2007, only 9% of the riders were wearing a helmet, in 2008 compliance to helmet law fell by 1%. In 2009 and 2010 only 4% of the riders complied with the helmet law. The police have failed to enforce this law mainly because of lack of public support. It is time that the public stand behind the police to make sure that riders wear helmet. In doing this the public would help save hundreds of lives that are lost every year. At the same time the police needs to review its enforcement action and examine whether fine is enough deterrent or some new strategy is required.

There is also a case for making it mandatory for motor cycle lights to be switched on while plying on roads. This is compulsory in all countries where road safety is good and they have found that this measure saves lives.

Compliance with law is generally poor amongst road users. We have already seen that riders (including pillion riders) do not wear a helmet. Drivers also do not put on seat belts. Only 3% of the injured drivers had seat belts on.


A study of the location of accident reveals that 25% (38% in2009) occurred at intersections and 75 % (62% in 2009) occurred at mid-block. Accidents at intersections are very high. This could be because intersections are not signalized. Those intersections that are signalized are either switched off or affected by load shedding. There is a strong case for signalizing intersections and, considering the blackouts which are a common feature, there is also a case for providing a system of uninterrupted power supply. There is also a need for traffic engineers to take a closer look at intersection designs to improve road safety.

Moreover, riders and pedestrians are the most vulnerable and they are mostly involved at both locations. While rider can be blamed for poor skills and failure to comply with rules, the pedestrian is a victim of civic neglect as pedestrian facilities are few and far between.


Only 15% of the casualties were female which is up from 13% in 2009. Interestingly, 22% of the casualties under the age of 15 were female. This shows the frequency of women on the streets of Karachi.

August, September and October show the highest number of casualties. But the variation is minimal for all months.




Casualties are mainly pedestrians and riders. They are vulnerable at all times. More traffic results in more casualties. The city wakes up slowly as indicated by the dawn casualties.

Months

Frequency

Percent

January

2405

8

February

2307

7

March

2654

8

April

2813

9

May

2700

9

June

2625

8

July

2701

9

August

2639

8

September

2982

9

October

2571

8

November

2693

9

December

2477

8

Total

31567

100



























Casualties by age can be seen in the chart below:-

Casualties Age Wise

Road User

Rider/

Pillion

Rider

%

Pedestrian

%

Passenger

%

Driver

%

<15

1997

11

2026

22

563

15

6

1

16-20

3105

18

710

9

511

13

80

8

21-25

3761

21

814

10

747

19

219

22

26-30

2931

17

692

9

579

15

222

22

31-35

1755

10

520

7

432

11

141

14

36-40

1328

8

547

7

307

8

120

12

41-45

894

5

476

6

201

5

95

10

46-50

659

4

493

6

117

5

43

4

51-55

320

2

320

4

91

2

22

2

56-60

271

2

491

6

100

3

22

2

>61

243

1

553

7

105

3

8

1

Total

17502

100

7756

100

3870

100

998

100

Pedestrians and riders being the most vulnerable road user group involved in road accidents are the most threatened during peak hours of traffic. This shows that the most vulnerable age group involved in fatal accidents is between 21 and 40. This group is also the most productive in the economy of the city. Therefore, it is high time that the city government should pay more attention to providing a road and traffic environment which is safe. There is also a case for expediting a mass transit system. The most productive age group is also the one which is riding a motor bike. The high percentage of rider involvement in road accidents clearly spells out the need for this road user group to benefit from a mass transit system which, even current figures relating to passenger injuries show, is far safer than riding a bike.

A study of major roads shows the following:-

Casualties per Kilometer

Road

Length

Rider/Pillion

Per KM

Pedestrian

Per KM

MA Jinnah

11

894

81.27

330

30

Sharea Faisal

13.5

1103

81.70

383

28.4

Korangi Road

10

783

78.30

326

32.6

Sher Shah Suri

4

455

113.75

141

35.3

Sadiq Ali Khan

4

607

151.75

131

32.8

Fazal Elahi Road

8

489

61.13

225

28.1

Main Korangi Road

3.5

349

99.71

147

42.0

Mauripur Road

4

233

58.25

254

63.5

SM Taufiq Road

3.5

175

50

109

31.1

Ibn Sina Road

3.5

349

99.72

121

34.6

Rafiq Shaheed Road

2.5

238

95.20

72

28.8

The above chart shows that the most dangerous arteries in Karachi for pedestrians are Mauripur Road and Sher Shah Suri Road. Sadiq Ali Khan Road and Sher Shah Suri Road are the most dangerous for Riders/Pillion Riders.

Fatalities per KM

Road

Length

Rider/Pillion

Per KM

Pedestrian

Per KM

Sharea Faisal

13.5

17

1.3

28

2.1

Main Korangi Road

3.5

4

1.1

10

2.9

Mauripur Road

4

14

3.5

21

5.3

SM Taufiq Road

3.5

4

1.1

7

2

MT Khan Road

3

11

3.7

4

1.3

Sharea Pakistan

6

13

2.2

10

1.7

The above chart shows that Mauripur Road and Main Korangi Road are the most dangerous for pedestrians while MT Khan Road and Mauripur Road are the most dangerous for riders.

Contrary to public perception, the pedestrian is most threatened by M/Cyclist and Car driver. The involvement of truck, tanker and dumper is far less but its collision is mostly fatal or serious. Amongst the passenger transport vehicles the biggest culprit in causing casualties to pedestrians is the Rickshaw followed by Bus/Mini Bus/Coach and Taxi. However, it must be said that the running time and trips of passenger transport is far more than that of any other vehicle in the city.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that the most vulnerable road users in Karachi are the riders and the pedestrians. It is, therefore, important that all stakeholders involved in road safety must plan for the pedestrian and riders. Road engineers need to design road systems that give the first priority to these two vulnerable groups. Transportation planners need to design a transport system that encourages riders to use public transport. Law enforcement needs to target riders and encourage and promote safe pedestrian strategies. Helmet law has not been enforced despite the fact that it has been mandatory since 1980. Police needs to examine its enforcement strategy and if it requires new resources, it should place its demands and ensure zero tolerance towards non compliance to helmet law.

There is a need to design a management system for dealing with road safety. A road safety organization needs to be established under law to make strategies for all stakeholders and carry out safety audits to ensure compliance.

As far as police is concerned, there is a need for establishing a traffic police on the model of the Motorway Police. Without this it would not be possible to enforce traffic law. Moreover, the traffic police needs to be empowered to deal with all road accidents under the laws laid down by the Motor Vehicle Ordinance. This would enable them to provide a service to road injury victims which is not available to them under the present system of dealing with road accidents under the Penal Code.

The following figures will support the above conclusion.

Vehicle vs Pedestrian

Vehicle

Minor

Percent

Serious

Percent

Fatal

Percent

M/Cycle

3133

60

1043

50

76

15

Bus/Mini Bus/Coach

116

2

65

3

23

4

Truck

73

1

69

3

50

10

Taxi

94

2

32

2

4

1

Bicycle

42

1

10

0

0

0

Car

727

14

310

15

80

15

Tanker

20

0

21

1

25

5

Rickshaw

359

7

80

4

14

3

Dumper

9

0

7

0

10

1

Trailer

11

0

24

1

7

1

Pickup

153

3

89

4

29

6

Others

205

4

167

8

85

16

Misc(Train)

47

1

21

1

42

8

Total

5228

100

2088

100

519

100