High-tech speeding cameras come to low-tech Pakistani roads

 

Islamabad, Pakistan

Instinctive braking and muttered epithets: That is the universal response to the telltale flash of light indicating a driver has been caught on camera cruising over the speed limit.

In Islamabad, one company is banking that this technology, the bane of the existence of drivers across the developed world, will continue to pick up speed in this developing country and in other emerging markets in the region.

East West Infiniti, a high-tech electronics company that makes digital traffic speed cameras, has seen robust sales as jurisdictions deploy the robotic cash-producers that can be found on roads all over Pakistan, a poor nation where donkey carts, water buffalo and camels still vie for space on major thoroughfares.

The company controls 70 percent of the Pakistani speed camera market, said Haroon J. Qureshi, East West Infiniti's managing director. The cameras are manufactured and assembled almost completely in Pakistan, except for the laser gun, which is imported from the United States.

Speed cameras in the capital and elsewhere are nothing new — East West Infiniti began providing the cameras to the Islamabad police force in 2006 — but the griping seems to be on the rise. Police now deploy portable cameras on many of the city's major roadways and their locations are changed frequently to maintain the element of surprise.

There seems to be no escaping the fixed eye and strobe light of the law. Police currently have 70 cameras throughout the capital, including 30 made by the company.

"It's a good business," Qureshi said.

The company's "Got-U" citation system gives traffic officers the capacity to process and print tickets on the spot.

The Islamabad Traffic Police department has penalized around 19,000 people this past year alone, generating significant income for the federal government. Violators were fined 200 rupees for speeding infractions (about $2.10), said Shams Gill, an Islamabad Traffic Police spokesman.

That's no match for a $40-plus speeding ticket issued in many American towns and cities but it amounts to one month's school fees in Pakistan.

"Usually the people who are fined don't like that," said Gill. "But they must know that it is for their own good and safety."

Taxi driver Khalil Ahmed, 24, who like many of his colleagues drives a small, older vehicle, said he is particularly wary of being fined because he doesn't make much money.

"The big car owners, those driving Land Cruisers, they have no fear of speed cameras and they keep on violating traffic laws," he said. "The traffic police must punish them, instead of poor taxi drivers."

East West Infiniti, which also sells military, maritime and aviation signals-oriented products, said the profit margin on speed cameras is 15 to 20 percent. The company also exports cameras to Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and other Middle Eastern states and is also exploring markets in Europe.

"The exports bring us more money as compared to the local market, and the profit that we earn by selling these cameras abroad is almost double," Qureshi said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks