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February 1, 2017

Uber and Careem not shut down, says minister


February 1, 2017

Nasir Shah says the two mobile-based cab services

given a month’s time to fulfil legal formalities

The Sindh government said on Tuesday that it had not shut down the mobile application-based cab services, Uber and Careem, and given them a month to fulfil the necessary formalities under the laws and procedures of the provincial transport service.

Transport minister Nasir Hussain Shah told reporters that Uber and Careem had not fulfilled certain procedures and formalities because of which notices had been issued to their operators.

The provincial minister said it was necessary to obtain a fitness certificate, a no-objection certificate from the provincial excise and taxation department, and a route permit from the regional transport authority for operating a fleet of motor vehicles under a cab service.

He added that the provincial government would have no objections over the operations of these two new cab services if the companies fulfilled the legal formalities. “In fact, the provincial authorities will extend their maximum cooperation to the operators of these two cab services keeping in view the convenience of the public.”


Government correspondence

A correspondence from the provincial transport secretary dated January 20, 2017 sent to the provincial information science and technology secretary and to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority director in Karachi called for a complete shut down of the Careem cab service.

It read, “It has come to the notice of this authority that the M/s Careem Cab Service is operating an illegal cab service in Karachi as well as other parts of the province using internet facilities. The operation of such service is in contravention with the provisions of Section 39 and 44 of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965 as no permission, route permit and fitness certificates has been obtained from transport and mass transit department and the government is facing huge loss of revenue. It is, therefore requested to kindly direct the concerned to immediately stop the illegal operation of M/S Careem Cab Service under intimation to this authority.”

Copies of the correspondence were sent to Karachi DIG traffic, the Provincial Transport Authority chairman and the Careem Cab Service with a directive to the latter to explain its position within three days of its receipt.


Careem service challenged in SHC

A man named Mohammad Ahsan Puri filed a petition in the Sindh High Court on Tuesday challenging the Careem cab service.

The petitioner submitted that Careem was using private vehicles for commercial use which was in violation of the Sindh Motor Vehicle Taxation Act and motor vehicles rules. He added that under the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, no non-commercial vehicle could be used for commercially for the public.

He submitted that the Careem taxi service was run by a private party and it was matter of record that the drivers of Careem did not posses public service vehicle driving licences. The court was requested to take action against the cab service for violating the traffic and motor vehicles laws and suspend its service.

An SHC division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi adjourning the matter till a date to be fixed by the office directed the petitioner to satisfy the court about the maintainability of the petition.

Andaleeb Rizvi adds: The provincial transport minister said an owner must register their vehicle with the excise department at a nominal fee of Rs150 per annum, as per the provincial rules, to use a private vehicle for commercial purposes.

This allowed the government to be on-board with the private sector to remain vigilant, he added.

“We are already facing a fragile security situation, and unregistered vehicles plying on the road are a threat, especially for women, who are being facilitated by these ride-hailing services,” Shah added.

Uber has so far complied by registering 10 to 15 percent of their vehicles with the excise department, and also obtained several route permits and no-objection certificates from the provincial authorities, however, “Careem is yet to register a single car”.

Ride-sharing business is facing regulatory crackdown world over and the latest move by Sindh and Punjab governments also raised concerns about the security, legal, and tax implications of such facilities, analysts said.

Careem on its Facebook page said Careem was only a platform brining the ride hailer and the ride provider together and not a car rental service.

Careem CEO Junaid Iqbal in a recorded video message on the company’s Facebook page said that new regulations were needed for governing the ride-hailing service. However, he refused to accept the government demand to register the cars.

Earlier, the Punjab government had asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block the apps of both Uber and Careem due to the lack of no-objection certificates.