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December 29, 2018

Do you know what they mean?

Islamabad

December 29, 2018

Islamabad :Those of us who live in a particular city do not notice what other people who come to visit do, maybe because the sights and sounds are familiar and do not merit any undue attention. An observation was made recently by a friend from Karachi, who asked, “What is the meaning of the RAK written in bold letters on the rear side of many taxis? Is it a society of some kind?” Since these letters had been seen many times over the years but not really thought about, I had to admit I did not know - maybe it was a society made up of cab drivers. Anyway, curiosity is a motivator and once aroused it was decided to ask cab owners and get some kind of an answer.

The first three cab drivers said they did not know as their vehicle already had the letters on it when it was purchased. A younger driver, Gul Mohammed, said they were the initials of the person who ‘decorated’ the vehicle, by which he probably meant ‘did up the interior’ because there were no decorations as such to be seen, at least in his cab. Mohammed Yusuf, who had a ramshackle excuse for a cab, laughed and asked why I was interested in knowing? Was it against the law or un-Islamic? A few said the initials belong to their union but did not know what they stood for, while one elderly driver gave the most plausible explanation and said they stood for ‘Rehmat Ali Khan,’ who founded the taxi union.

If you are observant you’ll notice there are hundreds of taxis plying in Pindi and Islamabad with RAK blazoned above the back number plate. Recently I noticed at least half a dozen with the initials ‘RV’ and a couple of ‘MAS,’ so heaven knows – maybe they are small but rival unions. Until we find out for sure, it’s a matter of guessing!

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