One needs that special temperament to get things done from Pakistan Government offices – Part 2: Driving license renewal

city traffic police rawalpindiYesterday, I shared my experience about getting life time token for my car, how many queues I gone through, what difficulties I had faced and finally we had concluded with how that process could be made simple and can be real time saving for millions of people who go through the same situation daily.

Today, I will share my experience of driving license renewal from the very next day, from Rawalpindi City Traffic Police office situated at Peshawar road Rawalpindi. This again was exhausting and very much complicated, which could have as simple as they come.

As I reached outside of Traffic Police office at about 9:20am, I was told that I have to get in that queue in front of that window to get the visiting pass to enter the traffic police office territory. Window was single one, lines from two directions coming in, one for people who were getting the passes after giving them their National Id card, other who were getting the Id cards back after coming out of office and were getting the cards back. Now as window was single but lines were two, same person was handling both things it was chaos at the end everyone on end of line had their hands inside of windows with either id card or the visiting card of police. So I got in the line as I had to get a pass, it was out side of office with no shade from sunlight on hot sunny day, however after 30 people I finally reached the counter and got the pass to get in the office. So I wasted 45 minutes already just before entering inside office. On gate they just checked my pass then checked me I am not carrying any weapon or explosives and I was sent in.

Inside I had to purchase a driving license renewal file from a little stall where they were also filling the forms for illiterate people or the people who didn’t knew English. By the way I just got the file with forms, one for driving license info, second to be filled by doctor. I gone inside office, as I was told that I have to attach the tickets so I asked a police man who told me after seeing my card that I will have to bring those tickets from a post office the required worth was 2200 for me as my renewal was pending from two years.

As there were no sitting areas/spots in the office, so first thing I did was I gone out of office, got in car switched on the AC of my car on really hot day, by the way car was parked on road side due to no parking area at all, so I filled the form there and headed for a post office to purchase tickets, where they directed me to go to either city’s main branch or another branch where I could get them. I choose near one first, so headed to it, luckily I found that tickets are available, here too I had to go through queue of about same thirty to forty people. As I was nearing the end of queue, we were in the area where sun was shining bright over our heads, we were sweating but that government employee on the post office counter was on phone was on phone with his relative trying to convince him that he is busy and couldn’t come today but the man on other side of phone seem to be unconvinced, so this chat ran for over 10 minutes, we were sweating meanwhile. By the way as he got off the phone, I got my tickets soon, but again searching and getting the tickets took me more than an hour.

Now I rushed back again into the traffic police office, as I had not returned the visit card yet, so I got in easily, rushed for medical test facility on roof of office, here again queue of over 40 people was there, standing outside of room, again sun was shining on us until we reached on half of the queue, meanwhile I found out that same info I filled inside the form I have to fill on cover of the file as well. At this point I spotted a water cooler, which was on half of queue, it was off and was good platform to put the papers, meanwhile being in same queue, so as soon as I reached it, I filled the fields remaining on file cover. Here I was confused, why I need to fill all this information again and again, as its already in the database of traffic police, as it was just renewal of my driving license. Even if they were wishing to take this info for updating the database, they would never have added the fields like my date of birth and father name as they would stay the same always. Also what was the point of getting same info on file cover and the papers inside. By the way I finally reached my turn to be tested medically, I was invited into a big room with one table and couple of chairs. First a policeman checked my form, got Rs. 100 from me, gave me invoice then doctor asked me to read the lowest line on a nearby board. I did that and he signed me as medically tested. I had left the blood group field empty, I thought they would test my blood group, but they never bothered and in a breeze, without any standard procedures, I was clear medically for driving a car. They never even bothered testing me for color blindness, which I am not by the way, thankfully to Allah.

I headed to the counter where I had to finally submit the file, two people were in line, it was encouraging, I sat on a nearby chair out of the free from about 5 chairs there. By the way there I pasted the tickets of 2200, which were in denominations of 100 each, 22 tickets on the form. Literally there was no legitimate space of pasting single ticket on form, but I saw people pasting them on the field names and remaining empty spaces on fields I did the same, finally after getting spaces filled, I pasted few as overlapping the lower ones by not hiding the amount of lower tickets. Two passport size snapshots of me were required, yes I had them with me, along with a copy of NIC, so I headed to supposedly the final counter for form submission.

After waiting in queue as it was my turn, I gave the person my forms, he asked me what would be the value of two notes/bills of currency if you,paste them together, he then told you can’t paste the tickets on the other ones, as due to space as I told earlier i had overlapped half of ticket as the amount of lower ticket was visible. I had seen this happening in different offices. By the way I was told to remove those tickets and paste them separately and it even any of tears apart in anyway, i will have to purchase new ones. So here tickets of about 1600 were in jeopardy, I got off the counter, sat down and luckily removed them easily, as instead of ticket’s gum, i had used the gum stick which was not dried yet. So then i separated all those removed tickets and pasted on all nooks can corners of form wherever some space was available. Meanwhile, again queue was became 6 to 7 people, I restarted from last of queue and reached to counter again. Here my forms were taken along with photos, photo copy or NIC and also old license was confiscated. I was sent to next counter where a person will give me a receipt that will later be used to get my license.

On reaching this counter, and after waiting for couple of minutes I got the receipt, also i came to know that this person only filling the space of computer printer, he was just manually writing the reference number on small printed piece of paper, the number which was search and found out on previous counter. He was also entering an entry on a register again I don’t know when, whole system is computerized and driving license will be called computerized driving license, why on earth this person is making entry on register.

Now this thing came with big surprise and shock, when he gave me receipt, he told me to go to camera room and get your photo captured inside our system. I was shocked because as per requirement I already had attached two recent photographs on form, they would have either dropped them or this picture taking final step. Now I started search for this camera room, it was on very other side of office, outside the gate to area of office where I was.

Now this camera room was another stupid funny story. It was on end of a 3 feet wide gallery with a number of rooms. About 100 were waiting outside camera room. Some names was being called and people were going inside to get pictures taken.

When I made a move to submit my receipt which was previously given to me, a person intercepted and told no this is computerized system, your name from that room came here via this online system and you will be called. As the person was came the for renewal like me, I didn’t believed him as I knew, our government offices’ computer systems are not mature enough. I soon found out, I was correct and I told this person as well be go forward and do submit his receipt as well.

Now we were denied and told that a person will come out of room and will collect the receipts as the old people are dealt with. Now another kind of wait started outside of room, now luckily sunshine was not hitting us directly but it was hot day. We were sweating yet again, also there were no sitting place, on about entrance of this 3 feet wide gallery we were waiting for man to come and collect the slips. And when I call we, I meant me and other people who came there for same purpose. Meanwhile we were told that camera is gone out of charging so they stopped taking the pictures at that point.

Everyone at this point was presenting their own story, some were saying even a little kind of thing need hour to charge, someone was saying they could have had two cameras, one was saying they would have hooked it to computer, i told him that its already hooked and is not chargeable. They need to charge battery with external charger, but he argued and told me that batteries are only to be used outside.

I knew the camera exactly cause I have one too with me, it was from Canon EOS series, most probably it was 550D which is a semi professional one. It charges with battery taken out and put in a canon external charger. So instead of putting people on wait they could have had an extra battery, so one could be on charger and other can be in camera all the time. This genuine battery from canon costs nothing more then four to five thousand rupees and there ones available on prices lower than that. So they would have had one alternate.

By the way about after 40 to 50 minutes they started taking the pictures again, now from this point again after lots on difficulties and mismanagement it was my turn. My pic was taken and I was free at least from inside office. Here one notable thing was, there were couple of other people there with same name as me, so I had to call my reference number many time myself so they don’t mix my name and bio data with another person. Soon, my this fear was true as well I saw a person there, who waited for his license to be printed a month and as he had collected it at that time, he was telling the officials there, that you have mixed my bio data with another person, picture was his, name was his, but other info was not. So they were retaking his picture. By the way I made sure my info is not mixed with anyone and I headed to outside of main gate. Now I had to get my id card, here again there was chaos, even a fight happened in front of me between the person inside the window and one like me outside, he even called him inside and they gone beating each other. By the way waited here for 20 to 30 minutes and now I was free at about 1:30 pm. So this whole process wasted my more than four hours, it could have very simple. Then again I will have to visit after 30 days to get my card, Allah knows what will happen to me then, also I will have to drive without any doc but with a receipt for a month.

Here is what i propose about making the process super simple,

  1. Combine all the counters to one hall, removing the need to stand in multiple queues.
  2. Remove the need to fill unnecessary forms, Customer reaches to counter 1 and presents his current/expired license. A representative checks his online record, collects money, instead of sending him to post office for tickets and sends to next counter for medical.
  3. As medical is super simple like know, the doc gives a clean chit or rejects, whatever and collects his money.
  4. On next counter pic is taken and camera people must have one extra battery 🙂
  5. On next counter a person prints a new card of presents, like they instantly print at metro cash ‘n’ carry. Or ok tells me to come on certain day to get card.

And on each of above steps a computer record is updated. That is all people would be with much more time and it would be  with much time other than wasting number of hours.

I have shared and made all this effort to prove that processes here could be made simple with few simple steps, its not rocket science, government must think about lessening the worries of people with these small modifications.

Do share your opinions about this, do follow us on Facebook and twitter from options on right side of this page, to keep yourself informed. Do read part 1 for another similar story, that is linked in start of this post above.



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