Islamabad High Court Protects Careem
ISLAMABAD: On hearing the petition filed by Careem (Pakistan’s local car-booking service), the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a directive to the Islamabad Police Department, restricting their action against the ride-hailing company. The Islamabad police and administration had been raiding the company’s offices, seizing its vehicles and hindering employees and visitors from taking part in the services that it had successfully been providing in the area.
Justice Athar Minallah, also ordered the court to assemble a committee whose main purpose would be to issue a report within a month suggesting effective proposals on how to regulate such ride-hailing services. The committee would consist of a member from the Islamabad police department, Islamabad traffic police and the Islamabad Regional Transport Authority (RTA), and would operate under the supervision of the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad.
The court recognized the silence of the Provincial Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 (MVO) on such technologically advance taxi services that use mobile applications as their main operating tool.
However, the petitioner’s counsel (Babar Sattar) subsequently stated that the company was not an ordinary taxi hiring or renting service but in fact “a software operator whose services help connect passengers and drivers through an online platform,” therefore the provisions of said Ordinance, on the whole, do not apply.
The Interior Secretary, the Islamabad RTA Secretary, the Islamabad Chief Commissioner, and the Karachi Company SHO were made respondents in the case. Sattar concluded with the fact that the aforementioned authorities had shut down the company’s offices via “colourable exercise of authority and without due process”.
Workings of the committee are to be reviewed within a month.
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