This Pakistani’s Story of Being Forced to Pay Toll Tax at New Islamabad Airport is Going Viral

The new Islamabad Airport has started its operations after what seems like forever. Some people have praised it as one of the best that the country has, whilst others have pointed out its shortcomings. But one thing that most of us agree on is that it’s a relief to finally see this project up and running.

For citizens in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the new airport represents a proud milestone. However, with such a monumental change to the twin-cities’ infrastructure, some people have become quick to exploit the situation to their advantage, by ‘extorting’ and ‘collecting’ a fee in the name of toll tax at the airport.


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A few days ago, a Pakistani national Raza Jamali recounted his experience of visiting the Islamabad International Airport with his family. What was supposed to be a nice, memorable tour of the airport with some quality family time, turned into quite the sour experience for Jamali and his folks as certain events transpired.

We take a look at what happened and whether there’s more to this event than meets the eye.

A Great Experience Turns Sour

Raza, like many others who live in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, was enthusiastic about trying out the new Islamabad Airport. Last week, he managed to fly from Islamabad to Karachi, and back, coming away extremely impressed with the pleasant experience that he had, despite some teething issues that the airport still faces. Pretty upbeat about his experience, he wasted no time in conveying his experience to his family and friends over Whatsapp. It seemed that all was well until he decided to take his family to see the airport again.

On his next trip to the airport from the motorway, he observed that suddenly there was a queue of cars and a toll cabin that didn’t let cars proceed unless they paid a Rs 30 as ‘tax’.

Raza mentions that this toll cabin wasn’t even there a few days back. Despite the minor annoyance, he paid the toll as his family accompanied him and he was in no mood to spoil their experience. However, he did inquire about who was in charge of collecting this toll tax, and that too in a sudden manner.

Raza was informed that an official from the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) ordered the collection of toll so that the roads leading to the Islamabad Airport could be maintained and looked after.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with charging a toll in order to keep the roads in tip-top shape. This is standard practice in many developed countries as well. As for having the competent authority look after it, the FWO has constructed various roads and infrastructural projects for the administration, so it wasn’t that far-fetched to expect their officials to look after this road’s upkeep as well.

But in Raza’s experience, things started to go really wrong. On his way to the airport, he mentions that he was handed a shabbily scribbled piece of paper that he was informed would serve as his toll receipt. After taking his family to the airport and letting them experience the scale and effort that went into making one of the country’s most advanced airports, it was time to go back home. On his way back, again he had to pass by the toll plaza. Normally, you pay the toll once, and then go back without fuss.

He was asked to pay the toll again on his way back despite him possessing the receipt for the same. Things turned heated as Raza confronted the person who asked him to pay for it again. This time he filmed the whole incident on camera.

It turns out that there was no authorization from FWO itself to collect the toll tax but rather, a corrupt official from the organization may have very well ordered this latest example of ‘extortion.’ Educating people into doing their bit for the country is one thing, but as the video recorded by Raza Jamali shows, it seems there’s no check on public servants to fleece the common man as they see fit.

You can check out the whole exchange here.

Here is Raza’s Facebook post that describes the sad incident in painstaking detail:

raza jamali facebook message

Who do you think is in the wrong here? Is it Raza for protesting the treatment he faced at the hands of officials? Or is it the corrupt officials themselves who are out to make citizens pay ‘bhatta’ for no reason whatsoever?

Samir is the Head of Entertainment at Lens by ProPakistani. You can reach out to him at samir.ya...


  • Next time jab mein Islamabad say Lahore wapis araha hu ga, i’ll show the toll ticket of the other route and make a noise when they ask me to pay

      • Yep. We already pay in Lahore. You pay toll tax when entering the main road to the airport and when leaving the airport back on the main road. 35 rs each. Plus you pay Rs 50 for Parking.

        • well than its your fault, you didnt say a word and it is now spreading…
          i was from khi, we dont have to pay to reach airport and back. parkingbis different story.
          similarly we didn’t had to pay for airport in Rawalpindi before.

          so its pretty stupid to pay toll for a road to airport. it will be ok if there’s a normal way to airport and an Express way to airport with a toll.

          • Fault? Airports are far away from the city. It’s the case in Islamabad and Lahore. The govt spent billions to make a road to the airport. It’s smart and fair that only the people using the airport pay for the road leading to it.

            • bhai your logic is flawed, when many start agreeing to a wrong, it becomes right, though its still wrong.
              thats why I said its your fault.
              yes a single person can’t change everything but atleast say wrong to something wrong.

              • Okay im going to say it, NOT putting toll taxes on roads leading to airport is wrong. People who don’t go to the airport should not be paying for maintenance of the road. Those people that go the airport, they need to pay toll

              • When majority starts agreinag to something wrong that means the general IQ of the majority has fallen and they have become more stupid.

  • In Karachi Showing Jinnah International (No Airport “Word” mentioned)
    In Islamabad Showing Airport “word”

    RIP Politics

  • Why was he going to the airport for a ‘trip’ anyway?
    Non passengers shouldn’t be allowed to go inside if they’re not even going to receive someone.
    It’s an airport not a shopping mall.

    • begairat insaan aus ke mulk ke andar ek nayi jaga khuli hai he should be allowed to visit it tu apni bongiyan mar le chawal shaqs

      • Again, it’s an airport, not a shopping mall or a public attraction. People who aren’t passengers or going to receive passengers shouldn’t be allowed inside.

        What business did he have going there?
        You think people abroad visit airports just for fun or to show their family members around?

        All this aside, it’s a security risk as well. An airport isn’t the type of place where there should be free for all access for anyone who’s just visiting to ”see it”.

        • > You think people abroad visit airports just for fun

          Yes, they do. Airports, train stations, harbors are all open to the public and if fact governments encourage citizens to visit them. In places like Singapore, they even have special tours starting at these locations.

          Don’t talk out of @ss about stuff you have no clue.

    • begairat insaan aus ke mulk ke andar ek nayi jaga khuli hai he should be allowed to visit it tu apni bongiyan mar le chawal shaqs

  • Well done to this guy .At least he stood up for his right…ordinary public needs to understand that government officials are not bloody sacred cows that anything they say will happen unquestioned . More and more people need to question whats happening to them . Public is a servant for government and bureaucracy officials instead of it being the other way around….

  • FWO is owned by pakistan army. Pakistan army is eating more than 80% budget of pakistan

  • Karachi airport charges Rs. 90+ when i last viisted and in Shaiwal it is over 90+ too, when i travelled in April

      • oh!!!
        Dont it also happens in Lahore airport if i recall… parking fee and they have a toll fee when u get on the bridge…
        correct me if im wrong.

  • Must feel nice to go to the airport for a “FUN DAY” with whole lot of family…. somehow I never Imagined that as an option for weekend gate away…. :) #OnlyInPakistan

  • do not make issue of such things from where they will recover the cost of Building, Roads and maintenance too required you want them to take loan again , this common in many countries ,in dubai taxi coming to pick and drop has to pay AED:20 for a single trip can you compare it ????

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