Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Roaring racing cars leave behind more than tragedy

From the Newspaper DAWN
December 11, 2010 (3 days ago )

By Mohammad Asghar

It has been a week since a car racing event in Bahria Town ended in tragedy but the deathly silence, rumours and questions that it left behind continue to haunt the twin cities.

Families of the five persons who were killed when one racing car crashed into the spectators are still in mourning and one of them appeared disinterested in helping the Rawalpindi police in its investigations.

“We are too distressed. Whatever happened has happened,” said Rehan, a relative of the family.

But such are the suspicions surrounding the tragedy that the Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu notice of the incident.

Although the Rawat police registered an FIR the same day, rumours continue to circulate that the police was under pressure not to register one because the four accused it named in the FIR – Ali Riaz, Waleed Khan, Majid Naeem and Sheikh Atif – were influence wielders.

Media echoed that “influence” when it reported that Islamabad police apologised to Malik Riaz Hussain, the real estate tycoon who developed Bahria Town, for the police raid on his house in search of Ali Riaz, his son.

All four accused appear to have gone into hiding and police say their arrest is the top priority for them. Police commandos have been deployed in the street in which the tycoon lives, reportedly to prevent Rawalpindi police launch another raid.

In the meantime the Rawalpindi police have managed to put the name of Majid Naeem, who was driving the car that went out of control and caused the tragedy, on the Exit Control List to prevent his fleeing the country.

But skeptics ask why he alone?

Waleed Khan is said to be the marketing manager of Bahria Town properties. Majid Naeem also was a corporate executive and Sheikh Atif was the one sent to seek permission from the local administration for holding the car race.

Press reports say the District Coordination Officer sent his application to City Police Officer who had no objection to the `sport` event provided “security procedures” were followed. But when the application reached Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Zahid Saeed, he refused permission for “security reasons”.

Sheikh Atif assured the commissioner that the race would not be held in the Rawalpindi part of Bahria Town but in the part which lies in the Islamabad Capital Territory, according to the reports.

But the deadly accident, attributed in the FIR to reckless driving, took place in the Rawalpindi part of the town and so became a matter for its police to deal with.

Jurisdiction and “influence” issues apart, the more important question is: what the law says.

Federal Ministry of Sport sources said the day after the tragedy that car racing was not recognised as a sport at the official level.

There exists neither a racing track in the country nor any law to govern the sport.

“Sunday`s (December 5) event was just an exhibition sporting event. Had there been better protective measures for the spectators, the tragedy could have been averted,” an official of the sports ministry was quoted saying the day after the tragedy.So, a lot of ambiguities have to be cleared before fixing the responsibility for the tragedy.

1 comment:

  1. Auto Racing MUST have a Governing body to ensure and oversee safety of Spectators & Drivers alike as well as specified and supervised locales for the sport!