'There is no no-go area in Balochistan; the state has established its writ and it will consolidate it further' - Sarfraz Ahmad Bugti
- 06 Jan - 12 Jan, 2018
If a curtain was drawn to the conversation being held between the interviewer and the subject, the picture painted in the mind of the former, through words uttered by the interviewee, would have come out to be that of a poet. Raise the curtain and what you have on the other side of the desk is Mr. Khadam Hussain Bhatti, the Additional Inspector General Traffic. Dedicating 32 years of service in the police force, Bhatti Sahib hails from the 1985 Batch of Civil Services Academy (13th CTP) and 1986-87 Batch of National Police Academy. “Having served almost 20 years as ASP, Additional SP, District SP and DIG, I have commanded dozens of police operations personally in which hundreds of desperados were arrested or eliminated, along with casualties on the police side too,” Mr. Bhatti shares his years of dedication to the field he chose to be a part of. “In lieu of these acts of bravery, the government of Pakistan decorated me with the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPM), then the second time with the highest police medal, the Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM), a medal one wishes for and the third time I received the Prime Minister’s Gold Medal which were handed out by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the officers who have served extraordinarily,” the Addl: IGP marks out the accolades he has received with no more left to hang in his cabinet of rewards.
Bhatti Sb did his Masters in Physics from Government College University Lahore. Having had a passion for the police, he left his options open, if joining the police force didn’t work out for him. “Having done specialisation in Solid State Physics, I kept that as a second option,” shares Bhatti Sb who is the first in his family to join the police forces. Hailing from the Sheikhupura District, the Addl: IGP spent time at deras when he was growing up, listening to folk love stories. “I opted for Punjabi in the CSS,” says the author of three books on Islamic Poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The metropolis which has a booming population, the Addl: IGP points out, “Karachi has a population of more than 20million with about 3,750 traffic police wardens. We made efforts to increase the number. Having sanctioned 6,000 more, the strength is about 9,000, we have been carrying out new recruitments and the process of training them is underway,” Bhatti Sb reveals. Will the new numbers prove sufficient? “Yes. This will have a positive impact on the wardens as their prolonged duty hours will be lessened which in turn will have a constructive outcome on their behaviour.”
The Addl: IGP has taken steps to spare the manpower for other duties as well. “Through the Traffic Ticketing Management System (TTMS) we have handed out equipment to wardens who will enter the vehicle’s number, the violation section and hand out a print out,” he sheds light on how this system will eliminate any form of corruption. “Earlier there were complaints that the wardens had bogus books from which they handed out receipts, but with TTMS, the minute the warden feeds the information in the equipment provided to him, that gets registered in the control room which marks out the position of the warden so the element of corruption ends there.
“This system has been active for the past five to six months. Along with this there are different points in District South where two kinds of cameras have been installed. One is the fixed kind, while others include mobile units. This is the Traffic Violation Evidence System (TVES) through which traffic police on roadsides have a video camera and any vehicle violating the law, is caught on camera, however all those who think it wasn’t their vehicle, they can challenge the decision,” states the Addl: IGP who adds, “We courier the fine slip to the address of the violator, working in coherence with the Excise and Taxation Department.”
A world that revolves around social media, Bhatti Sb is active on Whatsapp and all those who have complains in the form of recorded videos or messages can share the issues on 0322-TRAFFIC which is personally looked after by him.
Air pollution being one of the major problems, one gets to see public buses that are emitting carbon monoxide, the Addl: IGP points out that the fitness of the commercial vehicles was with the police earlier. “The Motor Vehicle Examiner (MVE) used to issue a certificate previously. Last year the MVE was handed out to the transport department. I have conducted meetings with the Minister Transport and have requested them to bar vehicles that are older than 10-12 years,” but an issue surfaced. “The transport owners were reluctant to buy new vehicles for in the past, small incidences had led to people torching the vehicles, so the owners want minimum losses. After speaking to the Government of Sindh, there will be insurance provided to an extent which will bear a fruitful result – the citizens will get to see new buses by the end of summer,” Bhatti Sb reveals.
With so many drivers on the roads without driving licenses, and many with fake ones, the Addl: IGP points out how the department falls short on capacity. “It all comes down to demand and supply.
The demand is more and the delivery system of the Driving License Units (DL) is limited and that makes people look for alternate means. We have tried to increase the capacity by introducing latest computerised systems and by reducing the test time from about an hour to 5-7 minutes.” Marking out the grave realities, with about “30-40 lac drivers who are without licenses, the Addl: IGP sheds light on how per day 1,000-1,500 people can be accommodated but increasing the number of DL centres is what they are working on. As for taking strict action against those violating the law, Mr. Bhatti asserts, “the police’s deterrence has flexibility.”
As for the budget allotted by the government to the department he serves, he states, “it is sufficient enough. The GoS has approved an added facility in which 30 per cent of the challan money is given to us out of which we hand out rewards and with the remaining amount we get the equipment that is needed.”
With high rise buildings having floors allotted for parking, shops have been constructed in place of it. “We have identified 80 such buildings and have written letters to SBCA to get these parking lots opened to ease the flow of traffic. Along with that there are charged parking spaces which have been causing hindrances so we are regulating that too.”
Mr. Bhatti keeps changing the route he uses to commute. “To assess the traffic situation usually on my way to work or when I’m heading back home, I try different routes to observe the traffic flow and then give out directions accordingly.”
Having been inspired by many officers who have outshined strong human values, Bhatti Bahadur is what he was referred to by a former IG Punjab. Not only has his services outshined in the field but he holds another accolade which he shares beamingly. “Malika Taranum Noor Jehan has sung only one song for the police and I feel honoured to have penned that song.” Being inspired by late Sardar Mohammad Ch and Syed Azhar Hasan Nadeem former IGs Punjab, Bhatti Sb talks about the harsh ground realities that his jawans face each day, and he has a message for the denizens of the city. “From morn to night they are working in tough conditions, if only the people talk to them politely and treat them with due respect, the barriers with the citizens can be overcome.”