Lack of traffic plan, wardens’ absence irk commuters in Islamabad


Families forced to walk for hours due to traffic congestion

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad during the three Eid holidays (from Saturday till Monday) was bustling with visitors, local families as well as those arriving from other cities, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and traffic police were not prepared to cope with such a large number of entrants.

Traffic on the majority of the tourist points like Pir Sohawa, Rawal Dam, Lakeview Park, Faisal Avenue remained choked for hours during the three days but the traffic police personnel instead of being there to help them out remained absent from the tourist points. The only place where the traffic police as well as the ICT police remained responsive and present was social media, otherwise even the police helplines remained dead all these three days.

Although the traffic police spokesperson claimed the flow of traffic remained uninterrupted on all highways of Murree, yet Pakistan Observer witnessed how families and children remained stranded on the road leading to Damn-e-Koh and after painful waiting for three to four hours, the families along with children started to walk all the three to four kilometers to reach the Margalla Road intersection.

A police official when contacted confirmed the absence of the police along the tourist points. Our officers had gone to their home towns so we also decided why not we should spend the Eid with our families, he said requesting anonymity.

On the first day of Eid, though there was less traffic on roads, it increased by noon and by the evening, traffic jams were observed on the roads leading to Rawal Lake, Pir Sohawa and Murree.

Similarly on the second and the third day of Eid, the road leading to Daman-i-Koh was so congested that traffic police had to close the road from the starting point near the capital zoo. Hassan Shah, a resident of Sector G-10, while talking to Pakistan Observer, said it was a nightmare while he was coming from the Pir Sohawa on the third day (Tuesday). I tried multiple times to contact Emergency Phone numbers of the Police Helpline, Rescue 1122, (Pukar) 15 and others but none of them attended the call, said an agitated Hassan Shah. Unfortunately there were traffic jams in most places and families were facing the worst situation,” he said.

Qasim, another resident of Islamabad said that on the second day of Eid he had planned to go to Damn-e-Koh along with his family, but he was disappointed to see that the road was closed by traffic police. “We reached there in the evening and were informed by police that the road had been closed because of the traffic jam on the road. We were informed that once a considerable number of vehicles returned from Daman-e-Koh, more vehicles will be allowed to enter the road,” he said.