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Commuters suffer as PTI rally causes gridlock

Commuters suffer as PTI rally causes gridlock

PESHAWAR: The commuters travelling on the Grand Trunk Road suffered in sweltering heat for hours after young workers of PTI occupied both lanes of the road to take part in the ‘accountability march’ of their party.

The city’s traffic wardens did not prepare alternative plan that brought traffic to standstill on the main highway.

Hundreds of vehicles were brought to the road to take PTI workers from Peshawar to Attock where the rally was likely to culminate in the evening.

The gridlock on the busy highway linking Peshawar with major cities and towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab turned ugly when vehicular traffic carrying participants of the rally took the wrong lane.

The rally was scheduled to start from Pir Zakuri Sharif Flyover at 10am, but PTI chief Imran Khan reached the venue at 12:30am. Hundreds of jubilant workers of PTI were waiting for their leader on the road in extremely hot weather.

They were enjoying loud music and dancing to party’s songs.

The road was chocked from flyover to Chamkani that added to the miseries of commuters, trapped in their vehicles. Women clad in shuttle cock burqas and holding babies Commuters suffer as PTI rally causes gridlock sweated profusely as they were stuck inside the vehicles.

The motorists also took wrong lanes of the northern bypass. Weather was unbearable and Met office said that humidity was recorded 88 per cent.

“We have nothing to do with Imran Khan or anybody else. We only want the road to be opened so that we can reach our home,” said an elderly woman, going from Peshawar to Jehangira. She held a minor baby dripping in sweat.

The traffic wardens were looking helpless and had no plan to ease traffic congestion. The organisers focused more on bringing cars, coaches and heavy trucks instead of bringing people to the rally.

An insider said that every MPA was directed to arrange at least 200 vehicles for the rally. People were brought from other towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjacent tribal areas.

An official in the traffic control room told Dawn that plan was designed for the rally but slow movement of the container carrying Imran Khan caused gridlock. He said that motorists started violation of traffic rules when container reached the venue.

“Plan was to put commuter vehicles traffic on the left lane of GT Road and it worked, but slow movement of container created traffic jam,” said the official, adding that entire traffic could not be diverted to motorway because majority of the people travelled from Peshawar to the localities adjacent to GT Road.

“Plan was there but its implementation on such occasion becomes very difficult for the police,” he said. He added that traffic wardens avoided fining motorists for violation of rules.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016

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