ISLAMABAD: It’s been a year now that Ziaullah is jobless. National Highway & Motorway Police dismissed him from service. He had fined the then chairman of the National Highway Authority for over-speeding in 2016.
A litany of trouble followed the poor cop. Zia was first transferred to Gwader from Swabi on “disciplinary grounds”, then demoted to head constable from the rank of patrolling officer on frivolous charges, served with show-cause notices and finally terminated. As he is fighting for justice, his department has been dilly-dallying the official response on removal sought by Federal Services Tribunal for the last ten months.
Meanwhile, the then NHA chairman was sent to the World Bank, Washington DC, in a senior position, and the then IG Motorway is now holding a top position in an institution meant “for steering police reform efforts.”
The News first reported about it in 2016 after Zia landed in trouble for issuing ticket to the boss of his boss who was fined twice, not only the same day but within 25-minute, for over-speeding on motorway. After verbal exchanges, he paid the fine, conveyed his complaint to IG Motorway and sped away. However, the patrolling officers were immediately transferred from Swabi in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to Gwadar in Baluchistan. Included among the suffering officers was Ziaullah, who in past had received commendation award from the prime minister.
In 2016, he was recommended for a departmental award that would carry with it a handsome cash prize in recognition of his outstanding performance. He was refused this award after this episode. April 29, 2016 was a fateful day. They were landed in trouble after flagging a Black Prado (GW 971). The vehicle didn’t stop when a patrolling officer asked for it near Burhan Interchange. A wireless message alerted the staff patrolling near Ghazi Interchange who imposed fine of Rs1250 for two violations: over-speeding and not stopping near Burhan.
As the Chairman resumed his journey after paying fine, another officer signaled him to stop near Rashkai Interchange where he was fined again for the over-speeding. Ziaullah, the patrolling officer who issued the first ticket, later submitted in his daily report to the department where important incidents during duty are recorded. He was very rude, rather, used insulting remarks when fined. “He told us: I will see you. You’re not doing a favor to yourself. It will have serious consequences,” reads that report available with The News.
“He further said: You have grown shave. I contested his claim. Then he asked me to see your face in the mirror,” Zia further reported to the department.
Instead of addressing his complaint, the department came into action the same day — April 29. Zia Ullah and his accompanying officer Zulfiqar Ali were summoned for explanation together with the officers who did second challan — Amjad Ali and Wajida Begum. The former two officers inquired about that particular commuter who had lodged the complaint since 19 offenders were fined that day. The department didn’t disclose the identity of the complainant whereas the shave objection had already been proved false as an inspection officer sent the same day reported back that the shave was properly made and pictures were also dispatched for further confirmation.
All the three male officers were immediately transferred to Gwadar for offending the NHA chief. Two of them: Zia Ullah and Zulfiqar Ali, challenged this order before Federal Services Tribunal. In the petition submitted, Zia explained that he had in past fined KP Speaker Asad Qaisar, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi and the provincial minister Mushtaq Ghani but the consequences of challaning the NHA Chairman was a unique experience for him. Also the fact remains that proper procedure has not been followed in disposal of the complaint, Zia and Zulfiqar further argued. Motorway Police also submitted its reply that failed to satisfy the FST which set aside the transfer orders.
“While submitting reply to the explanations, it has also been alleged by the appellant that violation of traffic rules was made by a senior officer (a reference to NHA Chairman), who was sitting in the official vehicle which resulted into the transfer orders of the appellants. On the face of it, mala fide on the part of the respondents (Motorway Police Department) is visible that instead of appreciating the action of employees of the force which is invariably quoted as a model police,” the FST noted.
After the FST verdict, the department instead of reverting the penalized officers to previous position, transferred them to Lahore (Ziaullah) and Zulfiqar Ahmed (Faisalabad) whereas Amjad Ali who didn’t contest transfer order was repatriated after two months. Ziaullah, who stood out among his colleagues as the best performer and named for the departmental award that could bring him a cash prize of Rs150000, was also removed from the list of honorees. He has filed appeal against this decision with the department.
As The News then contacted Motorway Police for version, AIG (Establishment) Nasir Mehmood Satti confirmed the complaint was lodged by the Chairman NHA. However, he said the complaint was not in reaction of the fine imposed on him but due to the fact that the female officer was carrying her kid along during duty and the male officers on duty were not wearing caps.
These allegations against the male officers as reported by AIG are in contrast with what they were summoned for explanation through letters: uncouth attitude and grown shave which had already proved wrong.
Later, Zulfiqar gave up but Zia continued for his lawful rights and was subsequently served with show cause notices and summoned. He was ill and produced medical certificates which the department got verified from concerned hospitals but didn’t give any relief to him. As he was terminated from services on April 20 last year, Zia moved Federal Services Tribunal which has been directing Motorway Police to submit its reply. The order has not been complied with as yet.