Sunday, June 29, 2008

Teaching Creative Writing: Basics

Check out some of the new course materials for my upcoming workshop:

Teaching Creative Writing

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Registration of Cars in Pakistan

There are further complications that a foreigner can not register a car in his/her name anymore unless the name shows up in the 'system.' You must go to Farid Court house near Mall Road (Anarkali side) to register a car. The 'system' is apparently made up of anyone who owns property or a business in Pakistan. I have been in Pakistan for over 2 years and come in and out of the country multiple times. My name was not in the system. It only would be if I owned another car or property already. It is no longer possible under the new government for foreigners to register cars in their own names if their names do not show up in the records. The immigration records are completely separate from these records.

Make sure your car is registered under the name of a national who is likely to be in the city you are in and easily contacted if trouble arises. We are putting our car in my landlord's name who lives in DHA and does not travel often. Previously it was in the name of a friend who lives in New Garden Town and can not easily take time off of work or travel all the way to DHA police station. To transfer ownership of the car it costs 1800 rupees for the papers. There may also be extra charges.

Bottom line: Do everything in your power to prevent your car from being stolen in the first place! We have certainly learned a lot from this experience and do not have any desire to deal with the 'justice' system ever again.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Recovery of Stolen Cars in Pakistan

This would have been useful information for me to know beforehand. If any of you reading have any information about who decided to go for a joyride in our car, please contact me immediately. Since the car was taken from where I work and dropped off where I live, it must be someone who knows us. It seems that nothing of value was stolen from the car, so that means it was done for "fun" although this week has not been any fun for me, my friends, or my family.

Here are the steps you normally take if your car is stolen in Pakistan:
  • Call the police
  • File an FIR (report)
  • Police will allegedly be searching for the car
  • Continue calling the police for updates
The police themselves told me that cars may be recovered after 2 or 3 months time. Recovery rate is likely less than 50%. An army source told me that the police do not really have the capabilities to search the country for the car. They will supposedly have all road check points supplied with information about missing cars.

If your car is found, by the police, this is what normally happens:
  • Police will take your car into custody
  • You may or may not be notified that it has been found
  • If you are notified, now you must try to clear the FIR
  • You must go back and forth between your local police station and the court waiting hours upon hours for this and that official to give you official looking stamps. This took my friends 8 hours on the first day and 5 more hours on the following day
  • You will pay 1500 rupees to a case agent at the court for filing the FIR clearance case
  • You will pay 3000 rupees to a solicitor to represent your case
  • At the end of the stamping process, you must find a guarantor to vouch for you
  • The guarantor must appear in court and must be the registered owner of a car himself
  • Then you must give a $5000 deposit (3 lakh rupees) to the court for one month. You must arrange the money as soon as possible
  • The guarantor undertaking paper costs 150 rupees
  • The court assurance demand bond note for the 3 lakh rupees costs 5700 rupees
  • The court reader costs 200 rupees
  • After one month, supposedly the money will be returned to you
  • You are not allowed to sell the car for 2 months time
  • If the car has been in police custody, likely 'only half of it will come back', even if the police found it in perfect condition
  • Who knows what is next, because none of these steps are told to you until you complete the previous one. Just when you think it's about to end it gets worse and worse.
  • It's possible that after going to the police station to get the FIR cleared you may have to start another court case to get your car back. This will inevitably take more money and more time.
To the joyriders:

Do you think that is just "sherarat"? Do you think this is enjoyable? Even if nothing physical was stolen from the car, don't you see that you have still stolen from us? You have stolen our time, our money, and our peace of mind. You have even stolen my vacation which I planned to take this week. You should be happy that Hazrat-Isa-al Masih teaches to 'bless your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' but also know that God is a God of perfect justice and He will judge those who have persecuted his servants. This little prank is certainly not funny.

To anyone owning a car in Pakistan:
  • get a steering lock (875 rupees)
  • never let your keys out of your sight
  • get a security system (5700 rupees + 700 rupees installation)
  • don't report your car stolen to the police, if you do you now know what to expect