Islamabad-The Supreme Court was approached for direction to constitute an independent national road and transport safety commission to give recommendations to control road accidents and fatal tragedies.

Raheel Kamran Sheikh Advocate, a member of Pakistan Bar Council has filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the constitution, praying for directing to constitute the said commission with the concurrence of federation and all provinces, having representation of all stakeholders.

He submitted that the said commission while considering and evaluating the fatal road accidents may give recommendations regarding the administrative measures that should be adopted for the avoidance of such accidents and tragedies.

He further said that the commission may also give its recommendations of the legislative amendments required, if any, in the existing laws governing road and transport safety in Pakistan, for the effective control and substantial reduction of the accidents and deaths or injuries.

The petitioner also prayed for enforcement of fundamental rights embodied in Articles 9, 14 and 15 of the constitution. The court was asked to direct the National Highway Authority to implement safety measures regarding construction and maintenance of national highways and roads.

The petitioner made chairman National Highway Authority (NHA), secretaries for communications and health, director generals of Statistics Bureau, and inspectors general of National Highway and Motorway Police and all the four provinces and federal capital as respondents.

The petitioner contended that Pakistan has one of the highest road accidents mortality rates in the developing worlds, with death on roads estimated to be above 25,781. He said such a fatality rate puts Pakistan in fourth position amongst developing countries. He said the Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2015 published by the World Health Organization (WHO) asserted that road accidents in Pakistan were a leading cause of death of young people aged 15 to 29.

Similarly, the number of deaths every year attributed to road accidents in Pakistan is almost thrice that of terrorism-related fatalities, mostly owing to the appalling conditions of road infrastructure, a lack of awareness about and non-observance of the traffic rules and road safety procedures, not to mention an in-adequate check on fitness of motor vehicles and their drivers.

The petitioner said that according to the official website of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, a total of 8,359 road accidents took place in Pakistan between 2013-2014, of which 3,500 were fatal resulting in deaths of 4,348 people and leaving 9,777 injured.

According to the same website, he said 8,988 road accidents took place throughout the country between the year 2012-2013, leaving 4,719 people dead and 9,710 injured.

This number is not much lower than the number of accidents that took place in the previous year, raising a growing concern about the implementation of road safety measures in Pakistan. He said in year 2012, about 35671 cases of road accidents were reported in Karachi city alone, leading to 27195 cases of minor injuries, 7297 cases of serious injuries and 1179 deaths. He said this year too there have been a series of fatal road accidents.