Muscat: “Please drive safely. If you kill a member of a family, the whole family dies for good.”
That was the message from Munawar Hameed, who lost his 14-year-old son in a road accident one year ago, on a busy Muscat side road.
Schoolboy Zafeer Hameed, a Grade XI student of Pakistan School Muscat, was hit by a car near Hamriya roundabout while he was returning home after taking extra school lessons on October 16, 2016. His father Munawar has now returned to Pakistan as he could not bear to remain in Oman after the death of his son.
He is currently heading academics at an international school in Karachi. “My family shifted to Pakistan immediately after the incident, and I was living alone in Muscat, which I was finding it extremely difficult to do.
“So, in July this year, I also shifted back to Pakistan,” he told Times of Oman on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Muscat Municipality reduced the speed limit on the road from Ruwi to Hamriya road to 60km per hour from 80km per hour. “It is a good thing to happen, as we used to see a lot of motorists speeding on that road while people were crossing the road dangerously,” Pakistan School Muscat Principal Khalid Jadoon said.
The civic body has painted yellow caution lines to alert drivers to reduce speed on the Hamriya flyover. Zafeer was knocked over and killed as he crossed a side road near Hamriya roundabout.
He had just returned from tuition lessons and split from his friends so that he could return home faster to his family. He was crossing the service road near Hamriya roundabout when he was hit by a car.
His grieving father Munawar added: “A lot of improvement is required for drivers and they should realise that they shouldn’t speed in service roads or side roads.”
Prayers were offered at Pakistan School Muscat on Monday, in memory of Zafeer. The prayers called Quran Khwani were held at the school premises, Khalid Jadoon, said.
Social workers said that to cross the street safely, you must followsome simple rules and the children should be accompanied by adults. “People should stand somewhere safe and look both ways. Sometimes the street will have a curve and you won’t see the car coming so you must listen for it. So, you walk in a straight line if the street is deemed safe to cross,” A. H. Raja, vice chairman of Pakistan Social Club, said.
Accident rates in 2016 have dropped compared to 2015, however, the death rate has increased, especially among expat drivers, according to data from the National Center for Statistics and Information.
Compared to 6,279 accidents in 2015, the year 2016 witnessed 4,219 traffic accidents, reflecting a drop of 32.8 per cent.
However, compared to 675 people who lost their life in road accidents in 2015, 692 died in such incidents in 2016.