Islamabad -  Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) has got clear directions from the Ministry of Interior to focus on traffic discipline in the city but it seems the message is taken in wrong spirit as focus is limited to issue tons of tickets to hapless road users.

The ITP started nicely by following directions from the Ministry of Interior by educating citizens about traffic rules and safe driving but then things went wrong in a short time.

The ITP cops are observed following aggressive campaign of another kind which seems like unprincipled money minting as road users are getting hefty fine tickets for even minor violations.

It seems ITP cops are not interested in educating road users anymore but want to get their slick 25 per cent share on every ticket that they tear from their book.

And if you have the nerve to argue with them, the fine amount will certainly go up for challenging authority. Name of the game is to go on issuing tickets without any effort to educate road users about importance of traffic discipline and road safety.

Just getting punitive and issuing tickets indiscriminately will not make roads of Islamabad more safe. But certainly for policemen, it is good easy money besides their monthly salaries.

Awareness of motorists cannot be as high as law enforcers but teams of traffic policemen standing at police pickets along with cops of operational police do not take this factor into account and resort to swift issuing of tickets to motorists.

They are not seen regulating traffic but they seem to be in a punitive mood all the time against road users. This exercise at pickets through which traffic crawls at peak hours only leads to uncalled for traffic jams and more wait for people. Twenty five per cent share of ITP in a fine ticket is perhaps too much of an incentive and seems to be reason behind this aggressive campaign.

Motorists can only hope that a higher authority takes notice of this brazen attitude. Officials of ITP were told at time of inception of force on January 28,2006 to first salute a violator and then tell him about violation.  But unfortunately, ITP’s officials have probably forgotten how to be decent and they make it a point to first snatch or taking away keys from cars and especially from motorcycles instead of showing courtesy.

Another problem within the force is culture of nepotism. Those performing duty at ITP office are not deployed on roads for long periods due to their closeness with police high-ups.

Complaints of harsh attitude by ITP officials is very common with license seekers or those visiting traffic office for some guidance. Tahir Alam Khan is an efficient police officer and people have high expectations as they look for much needed reforms at ITP to end favouritism.

Reshuffling within ITP especially at driving schools and driving test authorities is critical and the chief of Islamabad police will have to look into this matter because some blue-eyed are occupying same positions for years. “I have been performing duty on roads for last four years in tough weather conditions. Every traffic official is supposed to be on the roads but many are only confined to offices. I also have right to perform duty at ITP office in good atmosphere because some of my colleagues being favourite of traffic high-ups are never deployed on roads to brave tough working conditions like we do,” an Assistant Sub-Inspector told while requesting not to be named.

ITP is said to be a role model and corruption free force and it is very much true. However, long time postings of several officials on non-field posts have demoralized those who are forced to work on roads for years.

A senior police officer of ITP on condition of anonymity said it is time that changes are made in the way police works. He admitted need for overhauling in various ITP’s sections to improve performance, adding cooperation of community is crucial to achieve long-term goals.

He said the ultimate goal is to achieve better discipline on roads for smooth flow of traffic but through courteous attitude with road users.