Were Qingqis banned to placate the bus mafia in Karachi?

Published: September 27, 2015

The three-wheeler rickshaw, more commonly known as a qingqi, with its economical fares and private space, shielded the common man from a solitary walk on the tattered roads that are heaving with garbage and flies, congested buses and high fares.

Qingqi rickshaws were launched by Pervez Musharraf in 1998, as a replacement of cycle rickshaws. In Sindh alone, approximately 0.3 million qingqi rickshaws were operational, out of which 65,000 qingqi owners were from Karachi. However, now the source of their livelihood has been completely eliminated. In lieu of this recent happening, the common man is back to ground zero, back to the gory world of the spinal cord-breaking friendly buses and overpriced rickshaws.

The qingqis were stamped as ‘illegal’, as they did not comply with the requirements of Chapter-IV of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 as per the Sindh High Court’s decision on August 5, 2015. The decision ruled in favour of the Sindh Transport Department and banned the vehicle altogether. The losses inflicted on qinqgi owners were overlooked and in order to ‘prevent traffic clogs’ and speed up the flow on the roads, the decision was put into effect.

The pertinent question therefore is that were the losses of qinqgi owners taken into account? Was the mode of transport, as a convenient, affordable and safe carriage largely preferred by the public taken into account?

Does the government prioritise a very prominent bus mafia over the livelihood of the qingqi drivers or the preference of the public? Or does that not count anyway?

The government’s thought process – if there is one, is appalling, to say the least. Putting the needs of the elite, who are already hiding behind expensive four wheelers, over the millions of commuters who relied on these qingqis to safely reach their destination.

Was the cost-benefit analysis of this ban favourable for these commuters?

In fact, was a cost-benefit analysis of this decision even done?

If inadvertently, the qingqi owners’ losses were even considered, were they offered compensation?

Is there an alternative mode of travel, other than the buses, to bridge the gap in the transport industry for all those who greatly depended on them?

In order to inquire about the hassles of the common man, we took to the streets of Karachi to interrogate the impact of this ban on their day to day lives. To no one’s surprise, the common man feels appalled because of this unfair decision. They are now paying heftier fares, blaming the government for making them suffer due to the convenience of the elite. Is elite just a smokescreen word being used to cover up the demands of an ever-growing bus mafia?

Unfortunately, rather than protesting against this hassle, the ordinary citizens have made peace with the unreasonable excuses offered by the government – back to their fate of travelling in cramped, uncomfortable buses and expensive rickshaws.

Blogs Desk

Blogs Desk

The Express Tribune Blogs desk.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • salman ahmed

    very true.. bus mafia has won.. peopli of khi at loss.. is there any chapter of law of condition of buses?. If there is thn all buses running in khi r illegalRecommend


    The transport mafia has struck back at Karachites and none can offer any assistance to them. May Allah help the poor of Karachi who are being unjustly fleeced by this extremely unjust decision of banning the poor man’s transport.Recommend

  • Mohammed Nabeel Pervez

    I am a student and I can say that the ban on qingqis is terrible. Buses can never compete with the three wheelers. They are more comfortable and cheaper and run on small routes as well which buses don’t. And they are not unsafe as long as the driver drives safe. They removed the Circular trains and the tram service and now the qingqis. Why can’t they work to develop and clean Karachi. Sigh.
    Miss the qinqis so much. :(Recommend

  • Mohammed Nabeel Pervez

    And Karachi with the largest population and horrible population density should have necessarily a mass transit system. God knows WHEN the Glorious PPP is going to wake up!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Banning this mode of transportation was….classic bad governance laced with vested interest, spiked with corruption.Recommend

  • Jude Allen

    Lets be practical.. there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to put a ban on these eco friendly rickshaws as most women could travel safely back and forth to work as opposed to sitting in a public bus and getting groped. The government of Pakistan has always been in pursuit of their own personal gains rather than the welfare of the common man. It bothers me to a great extent of about the number of people that have been deprived of their lively hood due to the Quingqis. Maybe it is about time someone take up the issue on a serious note and expose the corrupt practices of our government for their nefarious gains.Recommend

  • vivek

    This is the dirty game of all weather friend to sell it’s Three wheeler’s in Karachi to earn moneyRecommend

  • Sane

    Mass transit scheme, circular railway, and these three wheeler shall always be restricted or attempted to restrict till Transport Mafia is strong. Like other strong mafias.Recommend