The Parking Mafia in Pakistan

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The Parking Mafia in Pakistan

Got this comment from correspondent Mark:
 

Next time someone starts calls you a parking “nazi” or starts ranting about how making them pay for parking is criminal, etc just show them this article.

Parking has become a major revenue earner for the traffic police and the police stations in some parts of the city with some “bhatta” rates rising significantly over the past year or so, The News has learnt.

At least 40 per cent of total amount collected as unofficial car parking “charges” per vehicle end up being paid as ‘bhatta’ to the concerned authorities. So lucrative is the business that when the local town administration tried to shut it down, it was accused by many quarters of “ethnic discrimination,” town officials said.

In exchange for payments, the traffic police and the local police station do not to conduct raids on the illegal car mafias that operate with impunity on Hasrat Mohani Road and Altaf Hussain Road as well as New Challi, it has been alleged.

When contacted by The News, Station House Officer, Mithadar, Naseer Muhammad Tanoli, denied that the police collect bhatta from the mafia. He did however agree that the parking mafia was active but said that people involved in these illegal parking rackets were warned “again and again” but they ignored repeated warnings.

“We have compiled a database of people attached in the business and keep eye on them,” Tanoli claimed. But on ground realities contradict the lenient view taken by the police.

The nexus between the parking boys and the traffic police is very strong, say observers. The parking mafia belong to men from places as far as South and North Waziristan, Kohat and Swat.

The system has been perfected to such an extent that those who do not cooperate with the mafia get punished by the traffic police. The traffic police only lifts those vehicles whose owner refuse to pay parking charges to the unofficial parking agents.

Once the owner clears his vehicle from the police kiosk, he returns to the parking place with the keys of his vehicle and hands it to the parking boys as he could not afford regular visits to the police kiosk, says one sufferer..

What is worrisome is that these parking mafias operate under the noses of the police high up’s but no action is taken. From the office of the city police chief and the DIG Traffic, the parking mafias work can be easily spotted. And yet their silence speaks volumes of complicity at different levels, say officials privately.

On public pressure and complaints, the administration of Union Council–4, Railway Colony, Saddar Town, has decided to launch charged parking system to end the control of encroachment mafia in the area, Muhammad Nasir, Nazim UC-4, told The News.

A proposal has been send to the Sadder Town administration and City Nazim, Syed Mustafa Kamal, for the approval of the charged parking project in this regard, he said.

He also disclosed that the previous local government had issued a tender for this place and issued permission for vehicular parking, Nasir further said. However, the tender expired during their regime and now the status of any contractor charging parking fees is illegal.

The people involved in car parking had also offered bribe to the UC-4 not to interfere with their business, said the official. “We have conducted so many raids to evacuate this place from the mafia but, all efforts went in vain,” he said. The last campaign launched in Ramazan against people involved in illegal parking business was called of when they started to turn it into an ethnic issue, Nasir said. He said that discrimination charges were used to politicize the matter and campaign ended after considering the situation.

“I have told the concerned authorities that the illegal parking racketeers are in full command and causing serious traffic congestion in the area,” adding he said, “despite the fact, they have not any permission to run the business, they were earning millions out of it.”

Nasir said that new footpaths are under construction and shortly they would start carpeting Hasrat Mohani Road. The necessary patchwork would be done during the carpeting of the road and removal of debris and construction of road would be carried in night shifts because it was not possible in daytime due heavy vehicular traffic, he added.

Parking mafias operate unhindered on Mumtaz Hussain Road, Talpur Road, Awan-e-Tijarat, M. A. Jinnah Road, Out Ram Road, Haqqani Chowk, NBP Head Office, Jang Press, Telegraphic Road, Tower, Railway Colony, Passport Office and many other places.

 

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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