By Kiran Bokhari
- Shahbaz Sharif is made hostage by bureaucracy in Uber an Careem case
- People are cursing PML-N government for depriving it of economical transport service
- Transport mafia in the ranks of PML-N played active role in this game
(Pak Destiny) PML-Q Parliamentary Leader Moonis Elahi tells a ‘real story’ behind the Shahbaz Sharif administration’s action against two people-friendly transport services – Uber and Careem.
— Moonis Elahi (@MoonisElahi6) January 31, 2017
Mr Moonis says ban on Uber and Careem has been imposed infact to make way for “expensive Turkish cabs.”
Albayrak – Turkish company – inaugurated by Shahbaz Sharif last year, has complained the chief minister that it is not getting much business here in the presence of Uber and Careem. Albayrak cannot compete with both companies because of the cheap fare these are offering. Albayrak cars are not affordable by the middle class.
“To redress the Turkish company’s complaint the chief minister has gone an extra mile and ordered to tight the noose around Uber and Careem ignoring the people’s problem and put an embargo on them.”
Moonis says the chief minister’s decision is directly affecting “middle class and lower middle class”. Shahbaz Sharif who claims himself ‘people-friendly’ is doing absolutely opposite.
“Since the PML-N government is protecting foreign interests in the country it is least bothered about the local investors and the people. And Uber and Careem case is a clear example how thing being operated here under the Sharifs,” Moonis says. It was rather shocking for everyone how could a government deprive its people of such a facility.
On the other hand, this episode has other dimension as well. Has the transport mafia or bureaucracy made Shahbaz Sharif ‘hostage or trapped’ him into taking action against Uber and Careem? The Pakistani bureaucracy has an undeniable knack for adding to people’s problems and hindering solutions. Former Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi never let the bureaucracy dictate him or impose its say on him. On the contrary Shahbaz has a ‘blind trust’ in bureaucracy.
The Punjab government says the services of Uuber and Careem are ‘illegal’ they had to operate “under the ambit of law”. Some of the justifications given for the actions were difficult to believe. For example, the Punjab Transport Authority said the vehicles were operating without fitness certificates and route permits and that the “drivers … are not cleared by the security authorities”. Are we to assume, then, that all mass transit vehicles currently operating in the country are in perfect shape, and that all drivers of these vehicles — from Karachi to Gilgit — have perfect safety records and security clearance? The rash driving by operators of mass transit vehicles on Pakistan’s roads, and the many needless deaths caused by such recklessness every year, confirm the fact that the opposite is, in fact, true.
While all firms operating in this country must abide by the relevant regulations, vague reasons and legal lacunae must not be used by the bureaucracy to prevent ride-sharing apps from doing business.
In a country where public transport options are inadequate, these services are offering commuters a viable option. For example, while Punjab has taken steps to introduce better public transport options — in Lahore, in Rawalpindi and now in Multan — with metro buses and metro trains, Karachi still has many miles to go. Meters have disappeared from rickshaws in the metropolis, while buses are too few, uncomfortable and unsafe.
“Shahbaz Sharif should allow ride-sharing services to operate legally without harassment. The transport mafia should not be patronized which does not want any other people friendly service to operate here or so much under pressure from bureaucracy… Come on CM Shahbaz show some guts and act for people not bureaucracy or transport mafia.” — Pak Destiny