LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif has allowed mobile-application taxi service providers Careem and Uber, 15 days to get registered.
The companies will continue to operate their services in the meantime, a spokesperson from the Punjab Government clarified.
There is no ban on these services in the province. The companies will just need to follow the rules, the spokesperson said.
The Punjab Transport Department will be in contact with both Uber and Careem to fulfill the legal requirements, he added.
Shehbaz Sharif today held a session related to the ban on private taxi services. The CM Punjab gave orders to resolve the matter amicably while resolving all the legal formalities.
Shehbaz Sharif said that if the public is benefiting from this model then it should be promoted. During the meeting, the matter regarding the ban was critically analysed from different angles.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Excise Department has summoned records of both the companies. All mobile-app taxi providers have been asked to comply with the laws, said provincial minister Zaeem Qadri.
Speaking to the media earlier today, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said these ride-hailing apps are doing the public a service through their transport services and they should be allowed to continue their operations.
Sindh Transport Minister Nasir Shah, meanwhile, said no order has been issued as of yet banning the mobile taxi services.
“These companies are indeed servicing the public,” he acknowledged, adding that it is the government’s obligation to make these companies comply with the law.
‘Never refused route permits’
Careem Managing Director Junaid Iqbal has said his company has never refused to obtain vehicle route permits.
Speaking at Geo Pakistan morning show, Junaid Iqbal said Careem is in contact with the governments of Sindh and Punjab for the route permits.
In a statement issued on social media on Tuesday, Iqbal appealed to the governments of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with the respective chief ministers, to embrace the concept of ride-hailing as it will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and pave the way for more ‘hailing’ industries.
To explain the concept of the online platform that Careem is providing, Iqbal cited examples of various online accommodation booking and ride-hailing entities, arguing that none of them owned a square inch of property or a single vehicle nor employed any of those working to provide the solutions.
The government says that Careem needs to register as a car rental service and hence will be governed by all the relevant applicable laws. Iqbal, in response, argued that Careem was only a platform bringing the ride hailer and the ride provider together if tomorrow Careem launches a doctors on demand service will the government want Careem to register as a hospital, he asked.
He stressed that in order to accommodate such entities, legislation needs to be made.