The 91km long Lahore-Sialkot Motorway M11, built at a cost of Rs44 billion, is owned, maintained and operated by Pakistan’s National Highway Authority. It was opened on 18 March 2020 to facilitate traffic by reducing travel time to 50 minutes instead of over 2 hours by GT road.

When the 367km Lahore-Islamabad Motorway M2, completed in 1997, was opened for traffic, all internationally established requirements were made effective by NHA such as 24/7 police patrolling, CCTV monitoring, petrol pump, service station and rest areas with bathrooms etc. What is shocking is that IG Punjab informed Federal Secretary Communication in July 2020 about the rise in incidences of crime on this motorway and need to employ 24/7 police by NHA. He even offered to make available Punjab Police in the interim period. According to media reports RPO Gujranwala expressed similar apprehensions. The question arises why the communications ministry was hesitant and delayed action even after Punjab Police had pointed out dangers involved to the public.

As if all this was not enough, the government chose to replace IG Punjab and appoint a CCPO, who was found unsuitable for promotion by none other than the Central Selection Board headed by the PM himself. The report by IB contains serious accusations about CCPO’s personal character, which should be enough to initiate stern administrative disciplinary action against him, instead of posting him as CCPO Lahore.

The victim of this gangrape informed the police about her location much before the crime took place, but time was wasted on technicalities of jurisdiction, instead of helping the lady in distress. The police who came after the crime should have immediately combed the area and deployed sniffer dogs, but they did not do so, and criminals managed to flee. Public confidence stands shattered.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.